Drafthouse Films has acquired "The Ambassador," a darkly comic documentary about the corrupt business of selling diplomatic titles to exploit resources in poor, war-torn countries, the company announced Monday.
The film, financed by Lars Von Trier's company Zentropa, follows filmmaker and journalist Mads Brügger -- who bills himself as an agent provocateur, instigating his interviewees -- as he travels through the Central African Republic.
Brügger, who is Danish, appears to retool the usual ethical standards for journalists in much the same way as Hunter S. Thompson's "Gonzo journalism" as he presents himself as a white-suited Liberian diplomat, gaining entry to the underbelly of society in the former French Africa possession, where wealthy Europeans skirt rules to control business and resources.
"Exactly because I'm beyond role-playing by actually being a diplomat, I can forge a partnership with the very sinister owner of a diamond mine replete with gold tooth and machete scars on his forehead," Brügger told the Dutch Film Institute last May. "That would be highly problematic for a journalist. But it's no problem for a diplomat.
Brügger's last major film about North Korea, "The Red Chapel," won the Sundance Grand Jury Prize in 2010.
"The Ambassador" is slated to premiere on VOD and digital platforms Aug. 4 and opens at the IFC Center in New York Aug. 29. It opens at the Cinefamily in Los Angeles and Austin's Alamo Drafthouse locations on Aug. 31.