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With: Barack Obama, Michelle Obama
Written by: n/a
Directed by: Bob Hercules
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 52
Date: 12/11/2007

Senator Obama Goes to Africa (2007)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)


By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This video has become more newsworthy since Barack Obama has become the presumed Democratic nominee for President, but I wish it had been more useful in introducing us to him. Instead, it plays more like an industrial video shown to businessmen in boardrooms, without a shred of personality. Shot in 2006, it documents the charming Illinois Senator's trip to Africa to re-visit his father's birthplace in Kenya. He also visits the prison in which Nelson Mandela was held, as well as a Darfur refugee camp. And he and his wife Michelle volunteer to take an AIDS test to inspire others to do the same. The most emotional moment comes not when he visits his family, but when we learn that he doesn't have more than an hour to spend with them (due to his busy traveling schedule). The most revealing moment comes when a local asks him about replacing the Health Minister that has been spreading misinformation about HIV/AIDS: "It's not my country's job or my job to decide who should be the official for another government. That's not an appropriate role for me to play." Imagine a president saying that! Voters who are currently on the fence may want to check this out, but if you've already decided, Senator Obama Goes to Africa probably isn't going to change any minds.

DVD Details: First Run Features released the DVD in 2007. The feature runs only 52 minutes, though the box advertises 60 minutes. The main extra is 3 more minutes of footage of Obama visiting a game preserve. There's a photo gallery and a list of resources if concerned citizens are moved to help. We also get biographies of the filmmakers and a trailer gallery for other First Run releases.

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