Friday, July 23, 2010
Bailey/Thompson's MUGABE & THE WHITE AFRICAN puts religious faith to the test
line would seem to indicate that the new documentary from Lucy Bailey (shown below, right) and Andrew Thompson (below, left) concerns religion. It does, but it is about much more than that. Yet, by its finale, the most lasting impression made on me concerned the part in all this played by religion: the faith in "god" shown by the sad, buffeted and beaten (literally) white farm family who dares to stand up to Zimbabwe dictator Robert Mugabe and then endures his wrath as its case very slowly makes its way to the international court.
MUGABE AND THE WHITE AFRICAN is a difficult film to sit through because the deck seems so stacked against its protagonists, Michael Campbell (below, right) and his wife, his daughter Laura and son-in-law Ben Freeth (below, left). We meet these people and spend time with them, as well as with some of the black workers for whom the family's very large farm provides work and income. We also meet Freeth's family members, who, it is clear, have some misgivings about his whereabouts, though they support him, as good parents will, despite their fears.
First Run Features, after its appearance at the Seattle International film Festival this past spring, opens today, Friday, July 23, in New York City at the Cinema Village.
Further playdates, with cities and theaters, can be found here.