Sydney Film Festival 2015 - Democrats

Democrats is the first feature documentary from Danish filmmaker Camilla Nielsson. I am going to give you the description from the Danish Film Institute website - "Over the course of more than three years director Camilla Nielsson was up close in the inner circles of politics in Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe. With the process of creating Zimbabwe’s new constitution as the film’s narrative backbone, Democrats tells the story of the political elite in Zimbabwe fighting the battle over the founding principles defining the country’s possible future." As a Zimbabwean I cannot give you an unbiased review of this film. The content cut far to deep. It is a documentary that sits within the in-depth current affairs sub-genre as they delve into life and politics in an African dictatorship.  Filmmakers worked in a country where news crews, photo journalists, well any form of free media, could end up in jail (in the conditions described in the documentary) or dead. Especially if you are a foreigner.  

The co-chairs of COPAC who were tasked with the impossible were Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana of the ruling party, ZANU-PF, and Douglas Mwonzora of the opposition, MDC-T. Their story anchors the documentary over the three years it took for the new constitution to be drafted. But it is evident by the end of the film that the written word is not going to oust a dictator. As Mugabe says in the documentary, the law is not where the power lies. At this moment the power is still with the 91 year old dictator of Zimbabwe.