The Ambassador Review – EIFF #edfilmfest

 

A daring Danish documentary with a difference, Mads Brügger takes on the tricky subject of diplomatic corruption in Africa by becoming a diplomat himself in the bold and provocative documentary, The Ambassador. Brügger wrangles his way into the diplomatic world by paying his way to becoming the Liberian consul to the Central African Republic. The process is worryingly easy as money in the right places earns him power. Brügger is a brave man to enter a world in which dissidents are easily dispatched and he is surrounded by firearms. He takes his life in his own hands to bring startling information to light.

The world Brügger exposes is full of despicable people. Powerful and wealthy Europeans are exploiting the impoverished nations of Africa, pulling the strings from behind the scenes and cashing in on resource rich countries such as the CAR. The arrival of the Chinese in Africa has meant the beginning of another cold war between them and the Western diplomats. This is all very serious business and Brügger’s Herzogian narration coupled with sharp fast images of official documents conveys there is an important message to be heard. Grabbing the attention however is his style, swaggering into the film in a white suit, leather boots and an ivory cigarette holder, Brügger announces himself as a prominent player on the documentary scene.

Throughout the film, a question will form in your mind: “is this all for real?” Delivered in a surreal fashion wherein the filmmaker injects comedy into the tragedy. “This is the problem with the NGO’s, they don’t know how to have fun in Africa” says Brügger as he beautifully convinces everyone he is a wealthy European businessman who wants a slice of the African cake. He heralds what could be a new dawn for documentary, The Ambassador is a film that doesn’t wait for your attention. It grabs hold of it and only releases once you have heard its message.

 

 

About The Author

Jonathan went back to university to study Film Journalism in Glasgow in 2012 and hasn't looked back since. Writing for the Edinburgh Internation Film Festival, The Birmingham Review, The Electrolyte Magazine as well as Front Row Reviews he enjoys working across media and if not lambasting folk about politics it's film on his agenda. Working in The Electric Cinema in Birmingham has allowed him to come closer to the medium he loves, his favourite filmmaker is Wong Kar-Wai.

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