“Did you know that the moon belongs to the white man?”
By virtue of his roots, Director Hubert Sauper can only allow for a foreign, inherently colonialist POV. How does one critique something from deep inside? By treating yourself like an alien.
Sauper takes cues from Herzog’s Lessons of Darkness and tints everything with a science fiction hue, presenting colonialist intentions as that of an interstellar conquerer, taking the land of a people it cannot/refuses to understand. This grand analogy keeps the film centered, even as it moves forward episodically. It also allows Sauper to give into his innately curious nature without compromising himself, as his implicitly critical approach asks automatic questions of his behaviour. Does adventure perpetuate the fetishisation of the foreign? But does that mean human curiosity is naturally A: exoticizing and B: colonialist?
A tough watch, would make a good double feature with Africa Addio.