Lambarene: A Historical Film Analysis

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The world of film is a complex web of discourses that try to understand, in a cinematic manner, the past without tarnishing it. Many films, especially historical films have tried to operate on a level that not only accurately tries to represent the past with all its intricacies, but to do it in a fashion that addresses real life truths and feelings that correlate with that specific historical figure, event or issue. While historical films may distort details about certain figures or events from a specific history, these films, however, reflect and expose truths that could be applied to the past. In the first two course films, Breaker Morant and La Grand Blanc de Lambarene it is clearly understood that the filmmakers are fictionalizing moments…show more content…
For example, in Bruce Beresford’s 1980 film Breaker Morant, a filmic event has been completely designed to speak to a larger truth about the first war crimes trial in British history and plays into a widely held belief about the reasons for this trial. In the scene where Major Bolton visits Lord Kitchener, they discuss the proceedings of this trail of the Bushveldlt Carbineers. In conversation, Kitchener remarks that Kaiser Wilhelm II has protested the murder of Reverend Heesse, who is mentioned as a German citizen. He goes on to say that the German people support the Boer cause and the British government fear that they will enter the ongoing conflict, on the side of the Boers. This is why Lieutenant Morant, Hancock and Witton must be convicted at all cost, explains Kitchener and they must go to trail at once for the murder of the German missionary. Although there has been no evidence of the Kaiser and king Edward VII having a personal or direct communications about this matter, it happens to be a widely shared belief that is was the case. Plus lord Kitchener was found to have not received any such communications on this subject on the behalf of the German government either. While this scene features a conversation that, mostly…show more content…
Nevertheless, Schweitzer tells him that Africans are better served as farmers or carpenters. As the film progresses, Koumba leads the way in Lambarene’s independence and he is not a politician who studied medicine and law in Paris. While Koumba is not a real person from this specific historical period, he embodies the pan Africanist movement that would look at Schweitzer as not really dedicated to helping Africa or Africans, they view him as just another white man who wants to exploit their land and people to get acclaim or been seen as a saviour. Koumba carries the changing attitudes and ideas of the postwar Africa, where Africans want unity and self-sufficiency. This character is used as a device to express the historical truth of Africa during the years before and after independence, since all these countries are starting to receive freedom from their colonizers, the continent can now be ruled by Africans that have the best interests for its people. Another character is featured in the film, Bissa, who represents the deep richness of Africa and those who see Schweitzer as a hero who helped heal the sick and needy in Africa. Bissa acknowledges Schweitzer’s inherent racial bias and his distain for their culture, but he should be applauded for his efforts in healing
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