Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Political > AIDS > ABC Africa (Documentary)

ABC Africa (Documentary)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: B-     Documentary: B



You hear so much about the crisis and suffering in Africa when it comes to AIDS, but the U.S. media is not giving it the kind of coverage it deserves.  With that crisis comes an orphan crisis that has been bad for a while now.  In 2001, director Abbas Kiarostami (The Wind Will Carry Us) went with his cameraman Seifollah Samadian at the invitation of the United Nations International Fund and put faces to the crisis with the impressive ABC Africa.  To this that the situation has become worse is an international embarrassment.


Though few Ugandans are interviewed, as one critic pointed out, it does not need to go that route to get the message across of children suffering by being born into a losing situation and the nightmare that even Audrey Hepburn in her final visit abroad said she had never seen things so bad.  The images speak for themselves and are well edited by the director.  One of the most bizarre moments is when an AIDS hospital has propaganda of images of the now-late Pope John Paul II with messages for people to stay virgins and stay like children.  Part of the problem with that is AIDS in that country is not necessarily transmitted the same way.  There is a sense of oppression, racism and ignorance, accompanied by a sense of despair that the posters are a substitute for real financial and material help.  It also points to how similar tactics are even being used in first world countries like The United States with the same soulnessness, heartlessness and condescending intent.


Inadvertently, it may also be a record of how the crisis was continued through international neglect with no end in sight.  One scene with complete darkness at night when electric in the city is turned off is a metaphor, intended or not, for what the more powerful in the world have allowed to let happen to this part of it.  In this respect, ABC Africa may be a record of a Holocaust-like atrocity caused by so many parties that they cannot be held responsible.  This is what is happening as all these good people just kept and keep on dying and dying; I wondered how many had passed on since this was taped.  At least a few since you read this.


The 1.33 X 1 full screen image was shot in DV video, which is perfect for the trip they took, the country they were in and how light and compact their journey had to be.  The footage is in great shape.  The featurette is letterboxed 1.78 X 1 and runs under an hour, which covers the career of Kiarostami and how the content of his films distinguishes him from other world-class filmmakers.  It should be said that oddly, that some film clips can be played as if they are anamorphically enhanced and be correctly played back in some cases, but that is only if you have ratio options and a 16 X 9 monitor and/or projector playback capacity.  Besides that extra, there are also five trailers for other New Yorker titles, including this one.  All in all, this is time well spent and a memorable experience anyone serious about knowing the world they live in will want to experience.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com