Review: ‘All About Darfur’

First-time helmer Taghreed Elsanhouri, a young Sudanese woman raised and educated in Blighty, returns to her native land to explore local reactions to the current civil war and genocide that's ravaged the country in "All About Darfur." Subject matter could gain "Darfur" sanctuary at human rights and doc fests.

First-time helmer Taghreed Elsanhouri, a young Sudanese woman raised and educated in Blighty, returns to her native land to explore local reactions to the current civil war and genocide that’s ravaged the country in “All About Darfur.” Although undeniably sincere, and often enlightening for auds not up to speed with the conflict profiled, this shakily made, ultra-low-budget pic nevertheless plays like a student movie. Subject matter could gain “Darfur” sanctuary at human rights and doc fests and, if edited down, possibly on news channels with slots for first-person views.

Elsanhouri acts as pic’s narrator and guide as she travels first to Khartoum and then to more remote areas to explore events and tensions that have torn the country apart. Subjects interviewed range from ordinary people at a small outdoor cafe to university lecturers and Elsanhouri’s own relatives. Moving scene shows cafe owner Teresa breaking down in tears as she recalls the horrors she’s seen, while Elsanhouri’s driver-d.p. Fattih El Aleem Dafallah criticizes the helmer’s methods while she holds camera on him. Still, strictly talking heads approach weakens impact.

All About Darfur

Sudan-U.K.

Production

A Taghreed Elsanhouri production. (International sales, Taghreed Elsanhouri, London.) Produced, directed, written by Elsanhouri.

Crew

Camera (color, DigiBeta), Fattih El Aleem Dafallah, Elsanhouri; editors, Zan Barberton, Hugh Lewis; music, Omar Ihsas. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Real to Reel), Sept. 12, 2005. Arabic, English dialogue. Running time: 81 MIN.

With

Taghreed Elsanhouri, Fattih El Aleem Dafallah, Mariam Saddiq, Teresa .
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