Darfur Now follows six subject who are all somehow connected to the crisis in Darfur: Adam Sterling, a writer an activist; Ahmed Mohammed Abakar, a victim of displacement in Darfur who is charged with leading a community of over 47,000 people; Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the lead Prosecuter of the International Criminal Court in The Hague; Don Cheadle (who co-produced this film), an actor who is now one of the leading examples of activism in the entertainment industry; Pablo Recalde, Leader of the World Food Program team in Darfur; and finally Hejewa Adam Ė a mother who lost her son to the violence in Darfur.
The unorthodox thing about this film is that it doesnít necessarily focus solely on the crisis in Darfur; on the contrary, four of the six stories focus on the efforts to halt the genocide, rather than the genocide itself.
Rather than sitting through a lecture-style documentary about the crisis, you actually get to experience what it is people are doing about the problem instead of simply being told whatís wrong. The trade off here is that itís not as easy to follow for people unfamiliar with the conflict. Regardless, even someone completely uninformed about the crisis can appreciate the efforts put forth in the film.
While the stories of Don Cheadleís travels to other countries asking for aid (accompanied by George Clooney), as well as the efforts of Moreno-Ocampo, Sterling and Recalde are inspiring, there is significantly disturbing material in the movie as well. Hejewa Adam Ė whose three-month-old son was beaten to death clinging to her back as she fled her home Ė is a soldier now, determined to bring justice to the people of Sudan through violence. Ahmed Mohammed Akbar has the impossible task of maintaining morale in an enormous group of people that includes rape victims, orphans, and internally displaced people. These subjects will weigh heavily on you, but will without a doubt give you food for thought.
In the world of documentaries, itís often very difficult to stay away from hyperbole and sappy, meaningless drivel. In other words, itís rare to see a documentary these days thatís simply honest. Michael Moore, for example, exaggerates the facts he finds in his movies, and only shows his side of the argument. Not to say that his goals arenít laudable Ė just that the viewer doesnít really get to see the whole picture. This isnít the case for Darfur Now. It is one of the very few documentaries that lay it all on the table for you to see Ė because once you do, you cannot deny it.