In The Shadow of the Sun (2012)

HARRY FREELAND

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

Tanzania/United Kingdom, 2012.  British Broadcasting Corporation, , , . Cinematography by .  Produced by Harry Freeland.  Music by .  Film Editing by .  

People born with albinism in Tanzania are the focus of this powerful documentary, featuring a group of individuals whose lives are observed while suffering prejudice and threat of death.  While their physical condition leaves them vulnerable to the blazing sun of Africa and poor vision, albinos in Tanzania are also the targets of misguided fortune hunters who attack and often kill them:  witch doctors claim that the bodies of these members of a visible minority carry the potential to bring great fortune upon those who possess them.  So great is the danger that special, protected schools have been created, forcing family members to send their children far from their homes in the hopes of seeing them survive in one piece and get an education.  At the same time, Josephat Torner emerges the star of this unforgettable film, his efforts to spread awareness about the reality of his situation and the foolishness of maiming and killing albinos turning him into a one-man activist who tours the country and giving talks while, touchingly, his wife remains at home and worries.  It’s a frank, unflinching and unapologetic glimpse into a world of struggle and oppression, and as much a lesson in compassion as it is a reminder of our own visual prejudices and where we can let them take us if they are left unchecked.

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