The Empire in Africa

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Combining an edifying array of droning heads and searing shock footage, this artless polemic aims to set the record straight on Sierra Leone’s civil war (just in time for the release of Blood Diamond). It succeeds as a condemnation of the media—would the surreptitiously captured horror scenes have spurred action had they been publicized sooner?—but it flogs its thesis (that the vilified rebels were really the good guys) with depressing rigidity. Documentaries can convey the slipperiness of the truth, but director Philippe Diaz is too much of an absolutist to rise to that challenge. (Opens Fri; Cinema Village.)—Mark Holcomb

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