Mugabe and the White African

"Extraordinary"

Mugabe and the White African Review


Shot more like a thriller, this powerful documentary follows a white Zimbabwean family as they take on one of the most ruthless dictators in human history.

It's both riveting and wrenching, and needs to be seen as far and wide as possible.

In December 2007, Ben Freeth comments about his father-in-law Mike Campbell that "it's quite surreal that someone as gentle as Mike will stand up to someone who has brought death to thousands". And yes, Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe wants Campbell and his family out of the country, but they have called their farm home since 1974 and refuse to leave without proper legal authority. And they're willing to take this to a regional African court to establish a precedent for the entire continent.

Mike and Angela and their daughter Laura and Ben note that 500 farm workers will lose their livelihood if the government seizes their land, and they stand firm even when government thugs come to beat them up. And this is exactly what happens following Mugabe's 1997 edict, with chanting mobs, threatening fires and burly goons threatening (and delivering) physical violence. Step by step, the reaction of the Mugabe government is mind-bogglingly nasty; you simply couldn't make this up.

Filmmakers Bailey and Thompson tell the story as a riveting thriller, complete with action, suspense and legal intensity. And as Mike and Ben set out to probe that Mugabe's "land reform law" is unfairly racist, they face a shocking display of political oppression. The truth is that no black farmers have lost their land and no white-owned land has actually gone to farmers. It's all gone to government relatives and cronies.

As horrific as it is to watch innocent people tortured and stripped of land they worked all their lives to own, there is still an underlying hopefulness that peace will come to their land. This hasn't happened yet, and the film traces the remarkable story with first-rate photography, expert editing and an astute sense of storytelling. Much of the film was shot covertly to avoid imprisonment, and yet the quality of the images never suffers as a result: this is as urgent and exciting as movies get.

And beyond entertainment value, it's examining both an intensely important news story and potent themes that apply to all of us. And the Cambell's astounding bravery can't help but inspire us. Stretched by their faith, they believe they have a purpose in this fight against injustice, and the film vividly catches the emotional and momentous tone of what happens as a result. It's a seriously involving story, and an unforgettable film.



Mugabe and the White African

Facts and Figures

Genre: Documentaries

Run time: 90 mins

In Theaters: Friday 7th August 2009

Box Office USA: $4.5k

Box Office Worldwide: $4.5 thousand

Distributed by: First Run Features

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Fresh: 32 Rotten: 1

IMDB: 7.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Lucy Bailey, Andrew Thompson

Producer: Elizabeth Morgan Hemlock, David Pearson

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.