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A career soldier is forced to choose between following orders and saving lives in this action thriller. Lt. A.K. Waters (Bruce Willis) is a veteran Navy SEAL whose commander (Tom Skerritt) has given his team a special assignment. A Central African nation is expected to explode into war at any moment, and Waters and his cohorts are to escort any American citizens in the area to safety, most notably Dr. Lena Kendricks (Monica Bellucci), a doctor from the United States who has set up a clinic in the jungle. Waters and his men ...

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Ukumbwa - Indigeny & Energetics

Nov 11, 2010

Read history first...

Tears of the Sun is a standard issue patriarchal-colonial power play that acts out its fantasies in "other people's land". One could foretell the utter submersion of what is real and important in the African story of neo-colonial, divide-and-conquer violence at the very beginning when Wilis and his crew strut onto the aircraft carrier into our consciousness in true uber-masculine form(ula). Fuqua is right, in his dvd commentary, when he suggests the necessity to share the story of child warriors and inter-tribal violence in Africa, but he misses the mark by hollywoodifying the subject, missing his opportunity to give his African subjects dignity and power, eclipsing Africa herself with the presumption and presence of USAmerican Euro-military ethicized bullyism. Yet again, the predominance of European world power as expressed in the teenage-cultural-angst of the USAmerican mystique is dumped all over "the bush" and its inhabitants once again, sullying the silver screen. One of the sad moments of many in this film, beyond the resonance of very real violence on the continent, is a relatively inert sequence of shots that tarzanify into a melancholy negative stereotype, sinister in its quietude. At one point in the journey of the Africans to "freedom", led interestingly by "American" outsiders through their own land, the band of 'refugees' takes a break for rest and food in the forest. The camera, and therefore Fuqua, treats the Africans like objects, like so many gorillas in so many nature documentaries, seeing them as passive pawns, animalizing them through the lens as if they were a band of even lower primates than the so-called developed world already believes them/us to be. And therein lies the mistake that even Fuqua is probably unaware of making. Africa and Africans are treated as objects in the international muscle-flexing of capitalist hegemony, the cultural, or better yet, merely geographical backdrop to the foreground ascendency of USAmerican military might, intellectual mastery and ultimately masculine emotional control (a very high virtue!). This is an old, tired, damaging story redone and retooled by a good director with bad historical and cultural perspective. Or is it just. literally and cinematically, impossible to tell a real, grounded story from within the capitalistic maelstrom that is Hollywood?

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