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Hubert Sauper's latest film exposes modern colonialism through South Sudan

Aug 20, 2015 Oscar nominated documentary filmmaker Hubert Sauper’s has explored the effects of colonialism and globalization on Africa through his latest film, “We Come as Friends”.

The Austrian documentary filmmaker spent six years in the creation of his latest piece which was largely set in Africa’s newest nation, South Sudan.

Commenting on the title of the film “we come as friends”, Sauper said:

“It is an ironic title. “We Come as Friends’ is probably the most consequential lie of our civilization. It’s the first line that explorers would have said to the Congolese when they got there, or to the Incas or the Aztecs 500 years ago,”

Sauper, whose previous film “Darwin’s Nightmare” got an Oscar nomination went on to say:

“To make a long story a bit short and to make a caricature, into the hemisphere of Sudan the North, which was more under Chinese influence, and the hemisphere of the South, which was more under Texan influence I would say. The President of the South Sudan wears a cowboy hat which was gift from George W. Bush, and that means in itself quite a lot, I think. He never takes his hat off anymore”

According to Sauper, the mantra for this movie is a quote by Mark Twain which says “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme”. He went on to expound on the fact that although the new superpowers are not the slave traders of 15th century Europe, the narrative still remains the same.

“We are representing the light and moral standards, the superiority, the technically evolved, etcetera. And we have to bring those people up, which is a terrifying demon from colonialism. And we carry this, and the point I made in my film, ‘We Come as Friends’ is that this demon of thinking is inside of people’s DNA.”

Sauper went on to explain that ‘We Come as Friends’ has an underlying message which explain the ulterior motive of some of Africa’s international friends.

“And of course from our point of view, from the West in this colonial legacy, we bring civilization, we bring light, we bring industrialization, what we call progress. And the progress that we have a consensus about is not always progress for what you find on the field to my point of view.”

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