DVD Chronicles Obama’s Return to His African Roots
Barack Obama was born in Hawaii to Ann Dunham of Wichita, Kansas and Barack Obama, Sr., a college student from Kenya. When Junior was only two years-old, his parents separated, and his dad returned to Africa where he subsequently remarried and had more kids. Consequently, Barack’s grew up with a hole in his soul, having only sketchy knowledge about his father’s side of his family.
This endearing documentary chronicles Obama’s overdue journey in 2006 to his African roots as a U.S. Senator. Accompanied by his wife, Michelle, this emotional bio-pic takes the man who would be President all across the continent, including memorable visits to the infamous prison on South Africa’s Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was jailed for 21 years, and to a Darfur refugee camp in Chad.
But the film is most moving during Obama’s triumphant return to Kisumu, Kenya, the land of his father. There, he is welcomed with open arms by his half-sister Auma, and the rest of his extended family of relatives. En route, we see streets lined with thousands of well-wishers hoping to catch a glimpse of America’s rising political rock star.
Part personal odyssey, part diplomatic mission, the picture reveals a sensitive side of the Illinois Senator while simultaneously establishing him as an international figure sincerely concerned about the host of woes presently plaguing the continent: AIDS, drought, poverty, and so forth. Narrated by the Barack himself, this flick couldn’t have benefited from a more timely release on DVD, given his recent success on the primary campaign trail, the ongoing genocide in Darfur, and the specter of ethnic cleansing in Kenya in the wake of that country’s recent election irregularities.
A promising presidential candidate whose stock seemed predestined to rise, judging from the perspective of this impassioned production.
Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 60 minutes
Studio: First Run Features Home Video
DVD Extras: A visit to the Masai Mara Game Preserve with the Obama family, an African Journey in Pictures, biographies and other resources.