Movie Review: Director of Darwin’s Nightmare heads to Sudan for the searing We Come As Friends

At the start of Hubert Sauper’s docu-essay We Come As Friends, a man’s voice explains the birth of modern Africa as though he were telling a bedtime story to a child. The new African nations, he says, were invented by white men, who declared those countries to be free and then flew away to go colonize the moon. Most of the rest of the movie follows up on the first half of that statement, and the idea that world leaders sit in offices thousands of miles away and draw lines on maps that separate people from their resources and their families. But Sauper doesn’t abandon the science-fiction angle completely. We Come As Friends has a scene of Chinese oil workers watching Star Trek, Star Wars, and 2001 in their bulletproof break room, and a moment when a friendly local insists that he comes “from the Earth planet …

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