04/29/15 9:15am
04/29/2015 9:15 AM |

democrats tribeca

Directed by Camilla Nielsson

Imagine every hackneyed adjective ever dropped in praise of a thriller: taut, riveting, bravua, gripping, pulse-pounding, hard-boiled, a roller coaster of emotion—it is hard not to lavish them all on Camilla Nielsson’s Democrats, winner of the festival’s top documentary prize. What’s easy is assuming the film’s title is a simple ironic inversion, as Nielsson and her crew step into a decisive turn in Zimbabwean politics, following Robert Mugabe’s 2008 reelection as President—the fifth of its kind, in one of the most blatantly stolen elections of the last 10 years. While Mugabe’s iron-fisted Zanu-PF party runs the government from one end of the country to the other, the ancient dictator is met with enough international pressure, rendered in one of Nielsson’s handy transitional edits as a succession of shrugging and finger-wagging Western heads of state, to form a “coalition government,” with challenger Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement For Democratic Change (MDC).