The Devil Came On Horseback Anne Sunderberg and Ricki Stern

The Devil Came On Horseback Anne Sunderberg and Ricki Stern
White man’s burden — sometimes that’s the only way to wake up the West to atrocities in Africa, or anywhere else. It’s the approach that directors Sunderberg and Stern take in this documentary on the Darfur genocide, which focuses on the story of retired U.S. Marine Brian Steidle. After doing time in the Darfur region of Sudan as an international observer, Steidle returned to the U.S., showed his photos to The New York Times and became an outspoken advocate of international intervention. The film doesn’t shy away from showing the destruction and interviewing victims, but far too much screen time is given to Steidle’s own story. There are plenty of more interesting angles the film could have taken to illuminate how the displacement, mass murder and rape have been allowed to continue. For starters, China’s oil interests in the region stymies any serious Security Council decisions. And despite employing the word "genocide,” the U.S. has been treading lightly with the Sudanese government, needing their co-operation in the war on terror because the country’s deserts once housed Al-Qaeda training camps. No disrespect to Steidle, who deserves plenty of credit for agitating for action, but this America-centric film shuts out other solutions. Nonetheless, Sunderberg and Stern display plenty of potential as documentarians; their visual style brings Steidle’s photographs to vivid life. Extras include a 12-minute featurette on the rape victims of the genocide. (Mongrel Media)