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Trailer Watch: Danish Provocateur Mads Brugger Talks Going Undercover as Tacky Euro-African Consul in 'The Ambassador'

Thompson on Hollywood By Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood July 20, 2012 at 1:43PM

Check out the first trailer for Mads Brugger's "The Ambassador," a ballsy documentary stunt in which the director travels to the Central African Republic and disguises himself as an over-the-top caricature of a European-African consul.
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"The Ambassador"
Drafthouse Films "The Ambassador"

Check out the first trailer for Mads Brügger's outrageous "The Ambassador," a ballsy documentary stunt in which the fearless director travels to the Central African Republic and disguises himself as an over-the-top caricature of a European-African consul. He often filmed himself in dangerous settings with a hidden small Canon digital DSLR camera. "It was like being in a bad Guy Ritchie movie," he said at Sundance. "I was giving money to Pygmies for a match factory...In many ways it is a film about smoking."

Danish provocateur filmmaker Brügger is known for his Sundance-prize-winning 2009 doc "Red Chapel," in which he and Danish-Korean comics travel to North Korea on the pretense of a theatre troupe cultural exchange.

In 2007, Brugger found a diplomatic title brokerage on the internet, he said. "If it was true, it was an amazing starting point for a documentary...I could get more access to a world seldom seen in generic documentaries where you don't meet kingpins and diplomats living a comfortable lifestyle in failed states." Brugger had been fascinated by Africa since he was a kid and part of the film is "my own fantasties and fetishes about Africa. Black people also have fantasies about white people. I thought something interesting could happen. I was trying to blend in, by dressing flamoyantly."

Brugger swears he was doing "what comes natural for me. It sounds schizophrenic, going all in, ecoming my persona. I'm in character all the time, even when sleeping." Corruption "is so endemic, it penetrates everything," he added. "Everybody in the film, including myself are crooks."

Drafthouse Films releases "The Ambassador," which was financed by Lars Von Trier's production company Zentropa and the Danish Film Institute, in New York on August 29, and select cities August 31 after it goes out on VOD August 4th.

Official synopsis:

This darkly comic, genre-bending piece of gonzo journalism from international provocateur Mads Brügger (filmmaker of Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner RED CHAPEL) rips the corroded lid off the global scheme of political corruption and exploitation happening in one of the most dangerous places on the planet: the Central African Republic. Armed with a phalanx of hidden cameras, black-market diplomatic credentials and a bleeding-edge wit, Brügger transforms himself into an outlandish caricature of a European-African consul. As he immerses himself in the life-threatening underworld of nefarious bureaucrats, Brügger encounters blood diamond smuggling, bribery, and even murder -- while somehow managing to crack amazing razor-sharp barbs at every step along the way. From each absurdly terrifying/hilarious situation to the next, THE AMBASSADOR is a one-of-a-kind excursion from the man whom The Huffington Post has called "the most provocative filmmaker in the world."

This article is related to: Trailers, Video, Alamo Drafthouse, Mads Brügger


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.