We Come as Friends

We Come as Friends ★★★★

Anti-hegemonic documentary that provides a clear picture of the current state of Africa.

The most-used narrative scheme in American documentaries, which has influenced many other national trends in that genre, is to drive the point home by repeating it, often ad nauseam. Hubert Sauper wisely uses a different tactic, showing as much sides to his subject as possible. Many perspectives are shown in a neutral way, the moral evaluation, problem definition and causal interpretation is left to the viewer.

The contextualisation that is used to introduce the subject emphasises this; we, the western audience, are alien to the concrete situation in South-Sudan. Every bit of information we receive through the media is filtered and framed is such a way that we have no clear view on the state of neocolonialism in Africa.

Instead of the standard, Western political-economic discourse (mainly the exploitation of Africa by so-called 'helping' investors), Hubert Sauper also presents the results of religious rifts (the main ones are foreign imports, i.e. Christianity and Islam), the Chinese political-economic views on both Africa and the USA, the views of local civilians and leaders, the ecological effects of the exploitation and, most importantly, the forced adaptation of the English language (and Western culture in general) to be taken serious and be able to communicate with the Western World.

To conclude, Entente Cordiale [We Come as Friends] is a good documentary, as it criticises our limited knowledge of and view on African culture after we wrongly deemed them to be freed from colonial forces.