25 January 2007

And you thought you were having a bad day...

I know what you're thinking: After being away so long, I reconnect with my virtual self by writing about one of the most depressing films ever made? What's up with that, right? Well, the way I see it, it can only get more lighthearted after this... or not, we'll just have to see.

In any case, for your consideration I offer my take on
Darwin's Nightmare. Yeah, I know it came out ages ago. In fact, I saw it in February 2006. How crazy is it though, that I'm only starting to recover from it in January 2007? But then again, perhaps it's not as crazy as it sounds once the facts have been considered.

Let's begin with the fact that I am a very sensitive person. I've been known to cry at McDonald's commercials. Remember the one in Eighties when the old guy takes a part-time job at Mickey D's and all the kids there are really nice to him and he comes home all smiley and proud of his new job? How sad that he couldn't just enjoy his retirement and hang
out at home with his wife. But then again maybe she wanted some space. She probably wasn't used to having him around the house all day. She may have even cooked the books so that he would think that they needed the extra money. Who knows? I digress...

Okay, let's consider the particulars of the film. Imagine 107 minutes of absolutely EVERYTHING that's wrong with the world: environmental disaster, prostitution, street children, AIDS, corruption, exploitation, racism, sexism, hunger, poverty, gluttony, arms dealing, greed, murder, drug abuse, maggots, rotten fish, and the World Bank. Don't get me wrong, it's a brilliant film and one of the most extraodinary efforts by a filmmaker (Hubert Sauper) I have ever experienced.

It's just that I'm not sure this film was the best choice for a world-weary chick. Don't worry I can eat fish again, but given that this film was followed closely by
Why we Fight, Syriana, and Cache/Hidden, I think that what was left of my idealism has eroded. I'm not going to go into details about the film, but if you've seen it I know you know what I'm talking about. Right Ina? Henry?? If you haven't seen it I'm not going to insist that you do so, cuz I know what you're in for, but I'll definitely respect your strength if you do so. Now that I think about it though, I do recall a sliver of hope there at the very end of the film obviously inserted so that we wouldn't all run out of the theater and fling ourselves off of the Brooklyn Bridge in despair... or not, maybe I just imagined it.

It's nice to be back!



  1. Welcome back Inez. xxx

    Look forward to more activity on your blog.
    Darwin's Nightmare is a nearly perfectly structured narrative on our world today. Today of course is not very different from yesterday and so on. I believe you know my thoughts on some of the matters addressed in this film. I recommend this film without reservation on the grounds that it ought to wake some of us out of our complacency or naivitee about matters affecting Africa.(Is that too much of a burden to put on this film?)

    Some have argued that it is easy for folks on the hill to send other peoples kids to a faraway land to die for objectives whose benefits are murky or at best
    dubious. So we are in the quagmire that is Iraq where life is cheap, whether that life is an Iraqi life or an American one. I apply the same logic to Darwin's Nightmare. Watch it just so that you know how ineffective some of the aid efforts we have been asked to support have actually been. How some aid efforts perpetuate the long standing state of affairs on the African continent. Just so you know how intractable some of the problems facing the continent are.
    Just so we maybe stop throwing pity parties for those Africans and take them more seriously when they call for a change in the terms of global business (G8, WTO, WORLD BANK, etc) that has long favoured the West and their cronies on that continent. Believe me when I say Paul Wolfowitz didn't leave Washington go to the job at the World Bank to improve the lot of struggling Africans, if anything he is there to secure the status quo. If Iraq circa 2007 (his brainchild) is an indication of what he is capable of, then Africa certainly does not need his kind of help.

    TRADE NOT AID and let the real development begin. Before I get tagged an idealist, I will point out that nothing precludes the West continuing to enjoy some priviledges it does in Africa at the same time that development takes place. But, so long as some narrow selfish interests continue to dominate the landscape nothing will change. I think the question to ask oneself the next time the issue arises in discussion, is how much of the sustainance suckled from the breasts of Africa actually benefit the majority of people in the west. It is a minority priviledge. The pillage of Africa is often carried out in our names without "resulting" benefits to but a few. Does Iraq factor into this? Your fuel price at the pump didn't go any lower. If anything it went up. Did you get a job out it that you didn't have access to four years ago.
    For whose benefit are these catastrophies being constructed? In whose name are they being perpetuated?

    If Nancy Reagan was naive enough to think Just say no was a answer to a national drug crisis, then I will join her and say the same to what is purportedly done in our names.

    For whomever might be interested I recommend a book titled "The Wonga Coup" Adam Roberts (2006).


  2. Hi Inez, I saw the film some time ago in Athens (not dubbed, thank God), and I think it's a really powerful statement. Needless to say, I haven't eaten "Viktoriabarsch", as Germans call it, ever since!

    Take care :-)
    Jannis from Hannover