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77

Generally favorable reviews - based on 11 Critics What's this?

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8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 8 Ratings

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  • Summary: Michael Campbell is one of the few hundred white farmers left in Zimbabwe since President Robert Mugabe began his violent land seizure program in 2000. Initially a policy meant to reclaim white-owned land and redistribute it to poor black Zimbabweans, it has instead been used to gift farmland to Mugabe’s supporters. Like hundreds before him, Mike has suffered years of land invasions and violence at his farm. But this genial 75-year-old grandfather with a dry sense of humor has refused to back down. In 2008, Mike took the unprecedented step of challenging Mugabe and his Land Reform program in an international court, accusing the regime of illegal racial discrimination and violations of basic human rights. Set against the backdrop of the tumultuous 2008 Zimbabwean presidential elections, "Mugabe and the White African" follows Mike and son-in-law Ben Freeth in their harrowing attempt to save their family farm and the lives and livelihoods of the 500 black workers that live and work there. (First Run Features) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 11
  2. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. 90
    The notion that only whites can be racist barely survives this riveting 2009 documentary.
  2. Reviewed by: Andy Klein
    83
    If there's anything missing from Bailey and Thompson's searing documentary, it's a consideration of the possible arguments against Campbell and Freeth.
  3. Though much of the movie was shot in secret to protect the filmmakers, Bailey and Thompson managed to create a remarkably vivid portrait of a land and its people, while bringing us two unforgettable heroes in Campbell and Freeth.
  4. Reviewed by: Ronnie Scheib
    80
    The documentary sometimes bears an eerie resemblance to Claire Denis' brilliant "White Material" in its tense evocation of menace stalking the periphery of the frame.
  5. 80
    As their extraordinarily brave black female attorney points out, at stake are not merely the rights of this family or indeed of all white farmers, but the future of race relations and human rights in Africa.
  6. Its awkward title notwithstanding, Mugabe and the White African offers the sort of narrative drama rarely found in documentaries.
  7. 60
    The film clandestinely captures marauders in action while embedding itself in the imperiled home of aging farmer Michael Campbell. He's not the movie's ad hoc martyr, but something more compelling: a simple man whose fight for personal justice has matured into patriotism.

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