Re-Cut + Remixed

When I first watched the original version of this video ad put out by Western Sydney University, I was surprised that people regarded this video so highly. It’s an incredible and heartbreaking story about a boy’s journey from poverty and corruption to safety and higher education. The video makes it seem that since the university “rescued” Deng from a war-torn area and provided him with an education, that his life was automatically good and better than his life back home, that perhaps he wasn’t even affected by the traumatic events that riddled his childhood. I see this differently. Deng probably hasn’t forgotten his horrific younger years, which is why I re-cut the video and edited it to show flashbacks of his life in Africa juxtaposed with the better times he is having at Western Sydney University, receiving an education. It’s entirely possible and likely that Deng has some sort of PTSD or similar mental disorder that would cause him to have flashbacks, and I’m guessing that his higher education never did or will solve or make better those years of terror. I lowered the volume on the “good parts” of the video and made the gunshot sounds louder on the parts of the video set in Africa to mimic the precedence of those bad thoughts in his mind and their presence in his life. I also copied a gunshot sound from a war scene in the video and used it at every transition. It’s almost as if the crack of the gunshot takes him back into that time in his life and then brings him right back to the present. I think it’s remarkable that this man was able to receive an education and ultimately pay it forward by helping refugees with his law degree; however, I think that the video is glorifying education a little too much as a means to completely erase trauma and fully better someone’s life.

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