I Am Because We Are

Rated 3.0

The documentary I Am Because We Are shines a light on the impoverished African country of Malawi, where the AIDS epidemic and decades of dictatorial rule have created a culture of slum-bound orphans. It was produced and written by Madonna, but it’s only tangentially about her experiences adopting a Malawian baby. I Am Because We Are is earnest but confused—its strength is culled from hearing the stories of the children themselves (many of whom have become household heads before the age of 10), but it’s also an intentionally muddled look at the Malawi culture, as well as a free-form rant against modern society in general. Madonna mostly removes herself from the frame, but repeatedly returns to narrate anti-industrialization screeds over alarmist montages linking video games and cell phone usage with nuclear war and the Holocaust.