Reviewed by Me’Chele Sevanesian: Oftentimes when we think we’re having a bad day we forget to think about the people whose best day on earth would be our worst day. Especially in today’s political climate which every way you swing politically, I think 1st world problems that become so frustrating are actually quite benign.
Documentaries bring just a fraction of what the world’s worst issues look like to light. They do so without romanticizing it as a film would but the goal is not just to make us feel, but to educate us. Rarely a documentary will end with a “feel good” happily ever, it just is, and for most people that is a hard concept to grasp. Madagasikara: The Real Madagascar directed by Cam Cowan dives into the issues that the citizens of Madagascar face every day since their independence from France. It is a sad testament to the evil that lies in the soul of some countries and the political leaders in their callous treatment of others. When families are left to survive on just pennies a day for food and live in abject poverty we realize the depth of the abandonment and despair felt by the people of Madagascar.
This film follows three women, (Lin, Tina, and Deborah) but I won’t say more about them I would simply encourage you to watch this documentary to learn about these resilient women and their daily life struggles in a battle for survival. These women have large families who depend on them for everything physical and emotional. This documentary highlights the depths of human perseverance and the lengths at which love will stretch to ensure it’s felt. So many people mistake Madagascar as an island with an unknown history, and mysterious yet beautiful landscape but fail to advocate for its inhabitants.
Another big issue brought to light is the underlying effect of imperialism. These big countries that travel to these islands change the lives and religions and languages of its inhabitants, suck it dry of its vital resources and then leave its people to fend for themselves is too common of an occurrence. Indigenous people are not less intelligent because they’re not in “modern” ways, what is actually more likely is them surviving longer due to their knowledge of the land and how to make things. I give this film/documentary a spot on 10/10 for its production, storytellings, and beauty.
Directed and Produced by former attorney turned documentarian Cam Cowan, MADAGASIKARA was inspired by the University of Virginia Law School students who reported on human rights issues in Madagascar. After a year of research and planning, Cam made his first trip to Madagascar in June 2014. After four years of filming and post-production, the documentary, which had a successful film festival run accumulating over 45 accolades from festivals around the world, it made its debut on Amazon Prime and Docurama on Friday, June 26th followed by a wider digital release on iTunes, Google Play, Films for Action and many more.