Sundance Review: The Ambassador

When I read that the director of The Ambassador was a gonzo journalist I did not realize the extent to which that was true! Danish filmmaker Mads Brügger, on a quest to uncover common yet intense political corruption in Africa (and extending to other continents as well), actually becomes a Matchbox Factory CEO/Consulate on the path to diamond trafficking with ease in the Central African Republic. Undercover cameras, secret cell phone recordings, constant bribes and an overall tension that Brügger will be revelaed as a fake drive this film into something much more poetic than just a political expose.

While developing the CEO magnate character the film also develops a true understanding of how simply everything has a price- consulate positions, diamonds, even lives...Apart from the serious journalistic implications, the film is also composed extremely well, the shots, scenes, characters and even the soundtrack (of 30s and 40s conga, folk, jazz songs) create this kind of beautiful cushion of support for the larger issues at hand. This type of documentary is one of a true visionary, a style Brügger refers to as "performative journalism," literally putting himself in every position of the filmmaking process. I am not sure if the political ramifications of this film have yet to surface but awareness alone is the definitely the first step....and this ground breaking/risky style of documentary filmmaking is another step towards a new way of social justice through storytelling. Witty and purposeful, The Ambassador is nearly perfect! (picture of Brügger, as the director, in the Q&A!)



Donna K. is a recent transplant to the Midwest where she can be found exploring culture at large through film programming, writing and her general interest in the world- both on and offline.