Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Art of Darkness 

Wednesday, Sep 5 2012
It’s hard to imagine an experimental Danish documentary siphoning off too much Best Actor attention. But make no mistake: in The Ambassador, Mads Brugger -- who, as both featured performer in and auteur of films which seek to capture reality through fiction, is sort of the Euro film festival equivalent of Sasha Baron Cohen, when Cohen was interesting -- gives what has to be one of the riskiest and most committed performances of the year. A document of a lie created in order to tell the truth, The Ambassador begins with Brugger purchasing a diplomatic title on the black market in order to travel to the Central African Republic (CAR) in the guise of an ambassador to Liberia. To his title brokers and to his new African associates, Brugger claims his goal is to use his perceived position (and bribes, secretly funded by the Danish Film Institute) to go into business with blood diamond miners, and move the gems out of the country under the cover of diplomatic immunity. Because he needs a business front, Brugger also claims to be building a match factory in the incredibly disadvantaged region -- one staffed by Pygmies. As Brugger tells it, the CAR is "a Jurassic Park for people who long for the Africa of the 1970s," making it "a magnet for white men with hidden agendas." The Ambassador bursts out of the gate and then slows into an endurance exercise, for Brugger and the viewer: How long will he be able to pull this off? You watch both fearing that something spectacularly tragic could happen, and knowing that if this film exists, it probably didn’t. The magic of Brugger’s performance is that it earns that suspension of disbelief.
Wed., Sept. 5, 7 & 9 p.m., 2012

About The Author

Karina Longworth

Related Locations


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment


  • Phish at the Bill Graham Auditorium
    Phish is in the midst of a block of sold out shows at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium (October 27-29). The Monday night concert featured a rare first set opener of “Walfredo” with the band members switching instruments for the song. The evening’s highlights included John Fishman and his iconic vacuum cleaner solo and favorites such as Chalk Dust Torture, Slave to the Traffic Light, Axilla, Rift, 2001 Space Odyssey, and Maze. The show also featured Phish’s debut of a, seemingly impromptu, version of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” to with roaring approval of the, singing along, crowd. With Game 6 being tonight, partying Phish fans will join Giants fans in Civic Center Plaza where there will be a World Series viewing party on a large screen set up by the City. Photography by Jamie Soja.
  • The 4th Annual Masquerotica 2014 - NSFW
    The theme this year was Carnaval Mystique for the 4th Annual Masquerotica at The Factory. Attendees were entertained by strip dance, trapeze, and live music. Photographs by Calibree Photography.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed
  1. Most Popular