The documentary takes as its subject the scammer workforce, or the “sakawas”—essentially a small room full of young men typing away on free online chat rooms and posing as (usually white) women. Through routine messaging, cleverly manipulated video chat, and live phone calls, these Ghanaians build fraudulent relationships with desperate men from all parts of Europe and America until they convince these “clients” to send them money. Should a Westerner prove particularly stubborn, the crew relies on black magic rituals to tilt the odds in their favor.
(. . .)
Transportive and immersive in its patchwork observation of Ghanaian routine from the purview of an emergent, distinctly 21st century livelihood, Sakawa is compassionate without resorting to maudlin, one-dimensional sympathy, as dignifying of its subjects as it is willing to show some indelicate realities.
Included in festival overview for MUBI: mubi.com/notebook/posts/sxsw-2019-two-visions