Hot Doc Preview: The Ambassador [Mads Brügger, 94 minutes, Denmark, 2012]

The following review is written by our friend and fellow documentary lover Joe from Mechanical Forest Sound, check out his blog for Hot Doc reviews, exceptional live recording and probably a helluva lot more thought out writings

Mads Brügger, who brought the fabulous North Korea undercover exposé The Red Chapel to Hot Docs in 2009, returns with another work burrowing deeper into his “performative journalism” approach. Looking into the shadowy world of blood diamonds and dubious diplomats, Brügger takes us down a rabbit hole where half-truths thrive, even as danger lurks.

Finding the means to acquire some fairly dubious Liberian credentials, Brügger sets up shop in the hardly-more-functional Central African Republic, where a charge d’affairs dispensing envelopes of cash is quickly welcomed into ever-higher circles of power. Hundreds of diplomats have already been carrying out diamonds without being scrutinized by customs; why not him? There’s a lot of smoke and mirrors, and certainly more insinuation than proof, but the glimpses that we get here of the seedy underbelly of business and government reveal deep corruption.

Brügger, in character as a cynical asshole, is rather entertaining, and there’s no shortage of laughs here. There’s also a lot of questions left unanswered — like what percentage of this film’s budget was spent on bribes? Hopefully Brügger will be in attendance for what should be one of the festival’s most fascinating Q&A sessions.

Hot Docs site
Screens: Fri, Apr 27, 4:00 PM @ Isabel Bader Theatre; Fri, May 4, 4:45 PM @ TIFF Lightbox 2; Sat, May 5, 9:00 PM @ The Regent)

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Posted on by Ricky in Hot Docs

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