Friday, June 01, 2007

SIFF 2007, day 4

The Devil Came on Horseback- USA, Documentary

Another excellent documentary. Every morning I listen to the news on NPR, but while I think I am relatively well informed on what is going on in the world, I know that my knowledge doesn't have any real depth. I know of the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan, but I knew little about the animosities and politics that fuel it. So I took in a documentary on the subject.

The Devil Came on Horseback is a call to action to the world to aid the people in Darfur to stop the killing from Brian Steidle. He is an American, ex-marine who was in the region as a monitor, but his job that kept him in Darfur for 6 months only involved the recording of instances of violence in the region and he was not permitted to interfere or try to stop the murders, only photograph and write reports on the aftermath of the attacks on villiages by the Janjaweed or the devils on horseback. After 6 months of recording these attacks daily, he came back to the US with all of his photos and first hand accounts to try to do something to stop it and thus he and his sister, director Annie Sundberg, have made this documentary. This is an amazing accomplishment.

First of all, it is an incredible and often heart-breaking account of what is going on in Sudan currently through video footage, accounts from reports, some interviews with the displaced villagers, in addition to Brian's observations and his vast collection of photographs. The film also gives the historical perspective for why these events are taking place. This is the first documentary of this kind that I have left with a very complete picture of what is occuring in Sudan, why the Janjaweed are killing people, and the economic and political forces that combine to allow the genocide to continue. This was a very well made film that worked on both emotional and intellectual levels.

And the subject matter is powerful and unfortunately still relevant.

http://www.thedevilcameonhorseback.com

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