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Darfur Diaries: Message From Home
Darfur Diaries Message From Home
Actor: n/a
Director: Aisha Bain;Jen Marlowe;Adam Shapiro
Genres: Documentary
NR     2006     0hr 55min

Darfur Diaries: Message From Home is a brutally honest inside look into the current tragedy befalling the Darfur Region. A team of three independent filmmakers in Darfur monitored the worsening political and humanitarian c...  more »

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Movie Details

Actor: n/a
Director: Aisha Bain;Jen Marlowe;Adam Shapiro
Genres: Documentary
Sub-Genres: Politics
Studio: Cinema Libre
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 10/17/2006
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 0hr 55min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 1
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Never again?!
Daniel B. Clendenin | | 01/24/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Despite global hand-wringing, accords, agreements, and peace-keeping forces, the Darfur genocide that began in July 2003 continues. Directors Aisha Bain and Jen Marlowe take the viewer on-site to Darfur, and through on-camera interviews with dozens of locals they let the people describe the tragedy in their own words. Their personal anecdotes are heart-breaking and appalling. The desert landscape, wind-swept and littered with bomb fragments, is stark. Despite its denials, the Sudanese government under president Omar al-Bashir has backed the Janjaweed militias to plunder, pillage, rape women of every age, and liquidate entire villages. According to the United Nations, 400,000 people have died, and over 2 million have been displaced (many refugees pouring into Chad). This documentary is only 55 minutes long, but it's a graphic, powerful and informative reminder of how much of the world can ignore the most unimaginable horrors when countries have no self-interest at stake."
Beyond the Slaughter: Smiles, Singing & Other Surprises...
Encompassed Runner | Florida, USA | 12/14/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Imagine that, Darfurians get to speak for themselves and turns out the conflict's about way more than the media voices make it out to be. And this documentary, it's not what one might expect either. Jennifer Lopez look-alike Aisha Bain was working for The Center for Prevention of Genocide in 2003 when asked to look into NGO reports coming out of Darfur. Dismayed at mainstream media's lack of interest in the story, she shares her information with pal Adam Shapiro who up and decides to go and check out Darfur for himself, with Bain and a third independent filmaker, Jen Marlowe, joining him. Shortly before their departure the Darfur story breaks into the news, but in an oversimplified form focusing on the black versus Arab characterization of the conflict, something this movie clarifies. The three producers remain offscreen during the feature film, but add their well-expressed observations and making-of-Darfur-Diaries insights appearing in the special features' "Context," "Director's Note," and "Slide Show." They avoid the political debates over what to call the Darfur crisis and whether the matter should be dealt with in the Interational Criminal Court (ICC) or an ad hoc tribunal, and cast the light on the central concern of protecting the people from violence.

The historical overview of the conflict is most clearly laid out in the "Context" feature of the DVD, which if watched first helps provide a better framework for understanding the 55-minute feature film, which is more relational, filled with magnetic smiles, childplay, a wedding, singing (even Bob Marley), sacrificial service, and optimistic aspirations of resilient people who don't define themselves as mere victims, and who are given voice and humanized by this film. The burned out depopulated villages, aerial bombings, and refugee camps are shown, but with a hopeful slant full of personality and people we can connect with.

Contrary to typical media impressions, the conflict didn't really start in 2003, but earlier with the marginalization efforts of the governmental elites led by the unpopular Omar Bashir who took power in a 1989 coup and by his support of Arab tribes sought to drive a wedge between Arabs and the black tribes, though actually there is much fluidity between them due to intermarriage, common arabic language and more, and the Arab Janjaweed proxy militia are just being used as a tool of the government to further their aims while shielding the government from the international community. While the government denies direct involvement, the story coming from the refugees of various villages is the same: aerial Anatov and helicopter bombing, followed by both Janjaweed and Sudanese government army mop-up land attacks, looting, raping of young and old, burning the villages to the ground, and flight of the villagers, many to neighboring Chad, since it is more difficult for international aid to get to internally displaced people due to impediments imposed by the Sudanese government.

Withstanding the Janjaweed and government is the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), the larger of the two main rebel groups, which had previously been called the Darfur Liberation Army, but changed its name to emphasize that all people of Sudan need to be free from Bashir's criminal government, that the conflict is not just a racial Darfur issue. The movie was made in 2004 and 2005, and as of then 200,000 had fled across to refugee camps in Chad, 2 million were driven from homes but still in Darfur, 2000 villages were burned and destroyed, and an estimated 400,000 were dead as a result of the conflict--as of then.

Don't miss the Director's Note, which shares some of the producers' activist energy along with filming stories, some humorous, other poignant. Another extra is the Slide Show, which is accompanied by some great music and filled with more of those heart-melting smiles so hard to ignore.

Darfurians speak
William H. Marks | 12/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Dafur Diaries is indeed a Message From Home. This well crafted film tells the stories of the people caught up in the ongoing atrocities that define this poorly understood conflict.

The film makers do not preach at the audience. Instead they exercise a degree of cinematic restraint by allowing the films subjects to tell their own stories. In doing so the Darfurians inform and educate.

Because the film is so well crafted it is never boring. In fact it leaves you with a desire to know more about the people, the confict and the region. In the long run that is what the authors meant to accomplish and I believe that is the true measure of the success of this documentary."
It's a good start, but doesn't tell the whole story
R. Humphries | United States | 04/02/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

"I bought this video one week before traveling to Darfur. I have now returned and after speaking with the victims and the recently freed slaves, I learned a few things.

The problem with this video and most books on the subject that that they intentionally don't talk about the reasons for the killing. It is Arab Muslims killing and enslaving Black Muslims because once the blacks asked for some power for self-governance, the Arab muslums no longer looked at them as Muslims but sub-human. You see many of the same enemies in the War on Terror involved in Darfur (Which is really Western Sudan.) Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia financially supporting the government in Khartoum with China buying the oil and Russia supplying the planes and bombs.

The reason why George Clooney and others omit these facts is because if they did, they would have to admit George W. Bush was right about Iraq. Darfur is what Iraq WILL look like if we leave too early!"