Laura Alonso is a Spanish lawyer from Madrid who sets off to Democratic Republic of Congo (center of Africa) after having seen a photo where Sara, her younger sister, appears alive after ...
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Laura Alonso is a Spanish lawyer from Madrid who sets off to Democratic Republic of Congo (center of Africa) after having seen a photo where Sara, her younger sister, appears alive after two years without clues about her location. While looking for contacts, Laura realizes that Sara was photographed in the region of Goma, one of the most troubled zones of the country due to the warlords and their civil war over coltan, a much appreciated and expensive mineral. Determined to go until the end despite not knowing the country nor the language, Laura contacts Sergio Rojas, a Latin businessman, to get the way to travel Goma. But after discovering the real interests of Sergio, Laura asks help Sven, a former part-time Sara's lover, to go Goma. Sven finds Jamir, a young former war-child who reluctant accept Laura's offer to help her. Together they both start a journey from Kinsasa (DR of Congo's capital) to Goma. Along the travel, Laura's life not only will be in danger several times, but her ...Written by
Even netflix can't escape the european savior complex
El cuaderno de Sara follows the story of a spanish lawyer that tracks down her sister, an aid worker, to a violent zone in the congo.
Once the film begins, you are reminded an awful lot of times that africa is a violent and complex place, very different to Madrid. Our main character seems completely incapable of walking the streets without getting lost or fade helplessly into the chaos, finding comfort only in white-abundant places like hotels and bars. I understand that this is the point of the character, she being naive and ignorant, but the movie ends with her being almost as ignorant as the beginning.
The movie has an abundance of opportunities to come to a profound realization, the whole arc of her sister revolves around this fact, but evades a closure for easier subjects. Cute selfies with black kids are nonstop, as are many other aid-tourism behaviors, and even when the conflict it depicts is similar to the reality of not just the congo but many mineral -rich places in Africa, they are never tied to existent names or events. Acting is Ok, and some shots are spectacular, but that is a cheap ploy to simply ignore the failure that is the story.
If you are really interested in learning about the subject, and in my opinion everyone should, you should watch Beasts of No Nation and The Siege of Jadotville both from Netflix. The later, even when is the account of a white group of soldiers fighting on behalf of the UN in the congo, does more to bring the actual causes and consequences of our thirst for minerals than this movie.
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