“I am a respectable Danish journalist…” Mad Mads Brügger is Danish documentary’s biggest bomb-thrower (at least until the fantastically overstuffed and horrifying “The Act Of Killing” is released next year). After infiltrating North Korea as part of a professed improv comedy troupe, in “The Ambassador,” the filmmaker buys diplomatic credentials to uncover how easy it is to become a central African blood-diamond trader under political cover. Financed by Lars Von Trier’s co-owned company Zentropa, “The Ambassador” plays no favorites in its undiplomatic political incorrectness, working with hidden cameras and a zest for saying the most inopportune things at just the right moment. As a Liberian paper put it recently, “Presidential Press Secretary Jerolinmick Z. Piah said the issue is of grave concern to the President, and she has called for a full investigation…The Government of Liberia said [Brügger’s] action was not only immoral but criminal and offensive to the Government and people of Liberia.” It seems like a surprise this gleeful gonzo is even alive, at least until you see him in action in the film. Mad! “If you can mix business and politics, wonderful things can happen,” a thug tells him, and the mind immediately leaps to what could be said between emissaries and moneymen behind billionaires’ closed doors. Forty-seven percent? This filmmaker is the 100 percent: for a picture of Brügger, consult your film dictionary under “Balls.” 93m. (Ray Pride)
“The Ambassador” opens Friday at Siskel. The trailer is below.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His multimedia history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” will be published soon. Previews of the project are on Twitter and on Instagram as Ghost Signs Chicago. More photography on Instagram.