We Come As Friends

Hubert Sauper

The director of Darwin’s Nightmare returns to Africa to paint a picture of contemporary colonialism. He flies around South Sudan in his self-built prop plane to hear local people’s stories. A shocking account of the effects of modern colonialism on South Sudan, where Americans and Chinese are exploiting the land.

While this brand-new country slowly but surely enters war, a procession of foreign investors explore opportunities for exploiting the territory under the pretext of bringing civilization. The filmmaker visits a Chinese oil company whose drilling activity is polluting the water supply. In another village, Texan missionaries have taken the local people under their wing and persuaded them to wear clothing. So for a traditional dance at the opening of a new power station, the female dancers wear modest brassieres as well as grass skirts.

One of the older tribe members explains how he sparked fury among his fellow villagers when he signed away 1.5 million acres of land to Americans. The honest stories from Sudanese people at the micro-level combine with encounters with U.N. staff and other ‘benefactors’ to create a shocking impression of modern colonialism and the impact of Western intervention on this part of Africa.


Hubert Sauper
Hubert Sauper, Gabriele Kranzelbinder
Country of production
Austria, France
109 minutes
Spoken language
Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), English
Production company
Adelante Films
World Sales
Le Pacte
Dutch distributor
Periscoop Film