"Darfur" Stirs Strong Emotions

The movie "Darfur" is filmmaker Uwe Boll's new docu-drama, his dramatized version of actual events, with added fictional elements.

The movie's characters are five international journalists in Darfur, searching for signs of genocide committed by Arab Muslims upon Africans of the same faith.

Boll, most well known for adapting video games into features, has taken on the task of exposing the world to injustice and the violent atrocities that often accompany it.

The film, which screened last Thursday in the HSS building, had an emotionally charged question and answer period. Judy Bernstein, author and activist, informed the audience that the Darfuri people in the film were in fact refugees from Darfur, lead by Boll to reenact the atrocities they had experienced.

"There are some big problems with the film," said SMC English professor Wilfred Doucet. "I felt like I was being assaulted through the film. The filmmaker could learn something about the power of suggestion. We did not need a full hour in that village. Five minutes would have been enough."

The film's use of overly colloquial, ad-libbed dialogue decreased the audience's investment in the film's main characters and removed some potential realism from the story. The most realistic aspect of the film was the intensity and fear of the black Darfurians as they were raped and massacred. These scenes comprised about two thirds of the film.

Professor Frank Dawson, head of the Communications Department at SMC, said of the film, "It took a very complex issue and presented it in a manner that was not complex, and I think that was a major problem with the film."

Dawson was pleased to see the different reactions to the film in the Q&A session and thought that the disturbing nature of the film might be an impetus to get people to research the topic and find the truth out for themselves.

Krupa Kothari, a freshman at SMC, left the screening for about ten minutes when the violence was too much for her to handle. "I couldn't take it. I couldn't stand there and watch these women get raped over and over again. It was just horrifying. I was crying. I had to leave."

When asked if she felt this film was successful in conveying its message, she replied, "If it was to show the horrific gore of a massacre that happens often, then yes. If it's to bring to light the conflict of Darfur, I don't think so."

Kristanna Loken, the lead actress and one of the film's producers, came to SMC to answer questions about the film. Loken, who avidly volunteers for various charities, said, "Any film made about genocide can only raise awareness."

"I don't know that anyone who saw this screening could say that they didn't feel something," said Dawson.