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'Darfur Now'

Ted Braun's documentary about the crisis in Darfur focuses largely on the activism and efforts many high-profile people are making to help the millions displaced and hundreds of thousands killed in the African genocide. Lynsey Addario/Warner Independent Pictures hide caption

toggle caption Lynsey Addario/Warner Independent Pictures

Ted Braun's documentary about the crisis in Darfur focuses largely on the activism and efforts many high-profile people are making to help the millions displaced and hundreds of thousands killed in the African genocide.

Lynsey Addario/Warner Independent Pictures
  • Director: Ted Braun
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Running Time: 92 minutes

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The name Darfur conjures images of genocide and human-rights abuses — but most audiences are disinclined to experience utter anguish for 99 minutes. That disconnect needs to be bridged, obviously, and writer-director Ted Braun's solution is to concentrate his documentary lens not on the horrors still unfolding in Sudan, but on the activists who are trying to change things.

That some of those activists are pretty famous doesn't hurt — Don Cheadle and George Clooney, among others. Even Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger has a walk-on role, promising to divest California of its Sudanese investments.

All of which is encouraging, though World Court prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo's take on the Darfur crisis feels the most realistic. Having survived two dictatorships in his native Argentina, he points out that bad guys inevitably get ousted, and that history inevitably trashes them. It just sometimes takes decades for that to happen.

That will be of scant comfort to the 200,000 killed and the 2.5 million displaced. But if this documentary enlists a few people in their cause, that's all to the good.

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