I’ve yet to see this yet, but reviews I’ve read since its Sundance Film Festival debut earlier this year, have been decidedly mixed. I missed its Sundance screening, and hope I’ll get to see it with today’s news that Alamo Drafthouse Cinema’s Drafthouse Films has acquired USA rights to The Ambassador, with plans to release the film on VOD and digital platforms on August 4, to be followed by a theatrical release at the IFC Center in NYC on August 29, as then at The Cinefamily in L.A. and Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, on August 31.
It looks like something Michael Moore might do if he dabbled in international politics – specifically African diplomacy. And based on reviews I’ve read of it, it’ll likely offend some, while others feel it informs and educates, and others feel both.
I’m not familiar with director Mads Brügger’s past work, so I don’t have a handle on his motivations (his last work, The Red Chapel, about 2 Danish comics, one of them a spastic and both born in Korea, who join the director on a trip to North Korea, where they have been allowed access under the pretext of wanting to perform a vaudeville act, won the World Dramatic Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 2010; anyone see it?). But I’d be interested in checking out his latest work for myself.
Here’s how it’s described:
An enigmatic and decadent white diplomat arrives in central Africa sporting dark glasses, riding boots, and a cigarette holder. He has recently bought an ambassadorship and claims to be a do-good rich businessman spearheading a diplomatic mission. Officially, he is there to start a factory that will employ locals to produce matches. Unofficially, he has really come to gain access to the area’s vast reserves of diamonds. It soon becomes apparent that, in this postcolonial economy, nearly everyone is out to rip off everyone else, and the dangers become all too real. Mads Brügger returns with yet another brilliant example of gonzo filmmaking. Armed with a diplomatic passport, a hidden camera, and his razor-sharp wit, he risks life and limb to uncover deep-rooted corruption that allows others to continue to get rich from Africa’s resources. THE AMBASSADOR is a genre-breaking tragicomedy that establishes Brügger as a singular voice in the documentary world.
I’m in… but with some trepidation… “Welcome to the bizarre and hidden world of African diplomacy, where gin and tonics flow and diamond hustlers and corrupt politicians run free.“
Watch the trailer below for a look at what to expect in this purported exposé