Special Screenings
Traveling Festival


Zimbabwe Countdown
(55 minutes) France/Zimbabwe
Director: Michael Raeburn
Producer: Nezha Cohen


The director, Michael Raeburn, a Zimbabwean who was expelled in 1970 by the colonial dictator Ian Smith for his film Rhodesia Countdown, made personal documentary Zimbabwe Countdown accusing the hero of his youth, Robert Mugabe, of betraying the ideals of the liberation war, which he spearheaded. Why does Mugabe use racist rhetoric against the British and Americans? What will be the consequences for his anti-globalization stance? While exposing Mugabe's Machiavellian tactics to preserve power, the director explores what is really at stake in Zimbabwe. The director has utilized connections with politicians both within the government and against it and with writers, artists, and journalists to procure rich insights into the crisis ravaging his country.


Michael Raeburn was born in Cairo where his father was a British Imperial officer. The family moved in 1950 to Harare, Zimbabwe. In 1967, thanks to a fellowship from French government he was able to leave Rhodesia and to graduate from University of Aix-en-Provence with the PhD degree in cinema. In 1969, he made Rhodesia Countdown advocating guerrilla war against the white minority government of Ian Smith. As Smith attempted to forbid the shooting, Michael had to flee the country through Zambia and completed the editing in London. He would be under an order denying him to stay until 1980, when the country was freed. It is only then that Rhodesia Countdown was shown in the country now known as Zimbabwe.

Contact Information:

Michael Raeburn
E-mail: michaelraeburn@bigfoot.com




©2003 United Nations Association Film Festival