Cold Case Hammarskjöld
Director: Mads Brugger
2018 | Denmark | Norway | Sweden | 128 min.
Danish investigative journalist, filmmaker and TV host, Mads Brügger is infamous for his ironic and incisive trawling of the dirtiest of the tainted and the corrupt. In 2011, his documentary The Ambassador was about the trading of diplomatic titles in Africa. Brügger impersonated a Liberian ambassador by purchasing his new identity on the black market. Now he is back in Africa with guns blazing on the trail of the plotters and murderers of UN Secretary Dag Hammarskjöld in 1961. The dirt he uncovers should be creating a stench from London to South Africa via Belgium. In January this year Brügger reported on the Hammarskjöld assassination and the skein of intrigue among the highest organs of government in The Guardian in London. A film of great importance. Miss it at your peril.
Dying for Gold
Directors: Catherine Meyburgh & Richard Pakleppa
2018 | South Africa | 99min
Billed as “the untold story of the making of South Africa”, this devastating documentary explores the numerous ways in which the mining industry was a key force in shaping apartheid South Africa. For more than a century, hundreds of thousands of black men from Sub-Saharan Africa have been leaving their families to dig for gold and produce South Africa’s key source of wealth. Featuring a rich archive of footage from the colonial and apartheid eras, along with interviews with gold miners whose lives have been decimated by silicosis and tuberculosis, the film clearly shows how Southern Africa’s indigenous societies were destroyed in order to create a pool of cheap surplus labour that mined some of the world’s richest deposits of gold at the cheapest possible price.
Stroop: Journey into the Rhino Horn War
Director: Susan Scott
2018 | South Africa | USA | 134min
As gripping and gruelling as the best of thrillers, two inexperienced female filmmakers go in search of answers to the random slaughter of the world’s diminishing rhino population. The film is divided neatly in half -the slaughter itself and the attempts by rangers, governments and paramilitary units to do battle with the poachers and, a second half where the filmmakers journey to Vietnam, China and Laos tracing where the mutilated cargo (more expensive than cocaine) finds buyers and entrepreneurs only too willing to keep the trade going. The specious belief in the curative properties of rhino goes back hundreds of years in the East and there are those willing to swear to its efficacity. A monumental work by a very brave pair.