The Ambassador ("Ambassadøren")
“Highly watchable, clearly (and unabashedly) exploitative and often offensive — but it undeniably unearths some very uncomfortable truths” — Karsten Kastelan, HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
Mads Brügger is on a mission. Armed with a forged Liberian diplomatic passport, the infamous prankster journalist ventures deep into the underbelly of African politics in search of diamonds, wealth and power — and exposes an industry where diplomatic titles across the continent are for sale. $135 000 to an underground diplomatic broker will buy Brügger his consular papers, a Liberian driver’s license, and a fake university degree – all the tools necessary to create a new political persona. Under the guise of opening a match factory, he travels to the Central African Republic, cozies up to a corrupt diamond mine owner (complete with a sinister gold tooth and ominous machete scars) and meets a series of politicians eager to carve up Africa’s limited resources in exchange for European luxuries. As Brügger falls further and further down the rabbit hole, a shady diamond deal and a duplicitous broker reveal the cutthroat realities of this dark underworld. In this astonishing, genre-bending investigation of a system beyond ethics and accountability, hidden cameras and clandestine cellphone recordings capture one man’s quest to infiltrate a prepaid diplomatic ring open to anyone with deep pockets and a thirst for power.
The line between fiction and reality becomes increasingly blurred as Brügger is drawn into an ever-expanding cesspool of crooked officials. Ultimately, he goes beyond roleplaying in his attempts to secure official approval from the Liberian president as the country’s consul and ambassador-at-large to the Central African Republic. Is this merely a highly charged political game, or can Brügger truly resist the glamorous fantasy of the white colonist from a bygone era? In a conscious nod to Curious George’s Man with the Yellow Hat, Brügger is a walking colonial stereotype with his white suit, opaque sunglasses, and ornate cigarette holder. Will he evade detection and succeed in his mission to become a full-fledged diplomat, awash in diamonds and champagne? If Brügger is discovered as a colonialist profiteer his best-case scenario is arrest and jail time, his worst case: ending up dead in an African ditch. Far more disturbing in its realism than any Sacha Baron Cohen creation, THE AMBASSADOR redefines extreme documentary filmmaking, and gives a whole new meaning to diplomatic immunity.
— Lindsay Peters