Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of Safari, the new documentary by Austrian provocateur Ulrich Seidl, is its subjects’ apparent obliviousness to the fact that their behaviour is problematic. This unflinching portrait of European tourist hunters in Africa centres around clean-cut police chief Gerald, his partner Eva, and their respective teenage children. We follow the troop as they enjoy a wholesome family holiday, shooting endangered animals, earnestly performing ludicrous post-kill bonding rituals and posing for photos with the corpses of their prey. As they talk about the indescribable thrill of the hunt, often in amusingly euphemistic terms, one can only marvel at the extent to which the parents have instilled in their offspring both an appetite for bloodlust and a sickening sense of white entitlement. Seidl, deadpan as ever, refrains from passing overt judgement and simply gives these unfathomable individuals enough rope to hang themselves with. It’s unlikely to have you skipping out of the Kino wishing good will to all men, but it may well help you overlook the foibles of your own nearest and dearest this season.
Safari | Directed by Ulrich Seidl (Austria 2016) documentary. Starts December 8
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