ABC Africa (2001, 2002 in USA)—Iranian, Ugandan
Written, directed, and edited by the Iranian film maker Abbas Kiarostami, this documentary portrays the plight of Uganda's 2 million children who have been orphaned by the ravages of civil war, life under the psychopathic despot Idi Amin, and AIDS. Kiarostami made the film at the request of the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development. If you have been to Africa the sights and sounds are very familiar—piles of smoldering garbage, orange clay landscape, rutted roads, rusted corrugated tin roofs, bicycles, the ubiquitous rubber flip-flop sandals, and a weary yet resilient, elegant, and remarkably joyful people. In the film's most powerful sequence, a nurse wraps a dead child in a dirty blanket, packs him in half of a cardboard box ripped open for the purpose, and then loads the corpse onto the back of a bicycle. In particular, Kiarostami highlights the work of UWESO—Ugandan Women's Efforts To Save Children, an all volunteer organization of women who give themselves to care for the orphans and to train women in small business skills. The film has almost no narrative, and would have been even more powerful if it had. But the images speak for themselves. The title refers to a t-shirt worn by a small child featured in the film who was adopted by a young Austrian couple.