Bonjour, Capitaliste (1982)

Genres - Culture & Society  |   Sub-Genres - Social Issues  |   Run Time - 88 min.  |   Countries - Austria  |  
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The intention of writer and director Werner Grusch in making this documentary on the people of Cameroon, their tourists, and the interactions between the two groups seems to have been to criticize foreigners and a Euro-centric culture for harming the traditional values and customs of the ordinary people in this country. Grusch interviews a group of mainly French tourists for their reactions to Cameroon, and then he does the same with several Cameroonians. But poet René Philombe reads excerpts from his writings to open and close the documentary, excerpts that blame the Europeans for bringing crime -- including rape and fratricide -- to an otherwise innocent land, and bringing war in exchange for Cameroon's hospitality, a hospitality Philombe personalizes when he says he offered his "bed, wife, and home" to these strangers. These are remarkable accusations, especially for a feminist who would wonder why a man who "offers" his wife to strangers can turn around and say rape was not intrinsic to his culture. The documentary continues with visual images of ordinary people bargaining with tourists -- as they would in most countries, practicing their own traditions away from the "business" of tourism and generally seeming quite normal. Aside from the verbal diatribes, the visual evidence seems to favor Cameroon as a great place to visit.