Critic’s Pick: ‘We Come as Friends’ illuminates big issues by digging deep


Documentarian Hubert Sauper goes where other people don’t go, sees what the crowd doesn’t see, and creates unsettling, provocative political documentaries that are unlike anyone else’s. His latest trip to Africa (following the Oscar-nominated “Darwin’s Nightmare”) is so audacious that the Sundance Film Festival created a World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Cinematic Bravery just for him.

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This time Sauper uses the 2011 referendum that split Christian South Sudan off from Muslim Sudan as the starting point for a wide-ranging but very specific film that illuminates big issues like globalization, colonialism and imperialism by going deeply into small, almost surreal moments on the ground.


Sauper views himself as a storyteller first, so as political as it is, “We Come as Friends” is always dramatic, never didactic. “The best thing you can do as an artist is to share passion,” the filmmaker says, and he does that brilliantly.

Twitter: @KennethTuran