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ZINDER (2021, NIG) – 7.5/10

A man can think that he has seen everything and anything in his life, but something even crazier and more extreme than anything he has seen so far always appears. Thus, in this completely incredible documentary, Nigerian documentary filmmaker Aicha Macky takes us to her hometown of Zinder, the third largest city in one of the poorest countries in the world. Or rather, to a part of the city called Kara – Kara, which follows the reputation of the worst neighborhood in the world, since that part of the city was once a neighborhood of outcasts and the former home of people suffering from leprosy from all over the country. Today they lose, as it seems to me, there are none there, but it is still one of the neighborhoods where it would not be wise and healthy to wander into.

It is a neighborhood ruled by various violent gangs, and the most famous of them is called – Hitler! One of the members of the gang says that Hitler is an invisible warrior from America who is a role model for all of them and proudly waves a flag with swastikas and a picture of guys making a picture. Yes, I forgot to point out that all the members of those gangs are builders and that lifting improvised weights in the sand and dust is their only occupation while they are not raping, robbing and killing. It all seems not only completely surreal and unreal, but also totally absurd and grotesque practically from the first scene when we see all those fat black people waving flags with swastikas.

But after the initial shock and understanding where Macky actually took us, we realize that the intention of her documentary, shown at numerous world-renowned festivals, is not to show her hometown as a terrifying Freak Show, but rather she is trying to show what happens when people have no choice. When there is no work, no schools, absolutely nothing except stealing oil from refineries in neighboring Nigeria, we see what happens. In turn, all these people are illiterate and even a minimal touch of upbringing and education is very difficult, almost impossible to break through there. Nevertheless, the author managed to find extremely interesting characters, some of whom are active members of gangs, some are victims of the same gangs, and some are former members of gangs who tried to break away from that vicious cycle of violence and are now trying to persuade others to follow a similar path. .