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I Am Because We Are (2008) — MalawiI Am Because We Are (2008) — Malawi

           Madonna makes an easy target. She's been much maligned for her work in Malawi, where she adopted two children, and in 2012 for having "abandoned" previous commitments that she had made there to build schools. She insists that her work in Malawi continues in new and better ways. Nonetheless, I was very glad that I watched this documentary film that she wrote and produced about Malawi. As you might expect, it's a first class production. Malawi is a country of 12 million people with 1 million HIV orphans. Madonna herself narrates only parts of the film, and only appears at the beginning and the end. Instead, she lets the Africans tell their own stories, and then draws upon interviews with Jeff Sachs, Desmond Tutu, Paul Farmer, and similar advocates. Mathews Chikaonda, Malawi's former Finance Minister, is the most eloquent of all. He acknowledges that Malawi has suffered horribly, but he categorically rejects victimization and scape-goating. The country bears its own responsibilities. The still photographs alone, especially those in black and white, make the film worth watching, although the graphic images might not be appropriate for younger children. The title of the film is a Zulu proverb. I watched this film on Netflix streaming.

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