Reviews & Viewer Comments

Guy Bekaert, French missionary based in Yaounde, with a child at Sakbayeme orphanage

Guy Bekaert, French missionary based in Yaounde, with a child at Sakbayeme orphanage


“Filmmaker Edward Guthmann’s grandparents, Fred and Roberta Hope, were Christian missionaries in Cameroon from 1907 to 1945. Narrator Guthmann greatly admires his late grandparents’ work, even though he questions the practice of forcing Western culture on the native Africans. This lovely profile links footage of the filmmaker’s recent visit to Cameroon with vintage [film] footage, photographs and readings of family letters by actor Gena Rowlands and others. The five Hope daughters recall growing up in Africa with their caring but undemonstrative parents. Simple, understated background stills, including well-composed photographs of family mementos, attractively complement occasional background music. Like “Vietnam Mission,” another look at a dedicated missionary couple who served during the same era, this is a well-produced profile.” –Sue-Ellen Beauregard, Audiovisual Media magazine.

“A look at a most untraditional, traditional family … ‘Return to Cameroun’ is a focused, richly evocative memory piece that bravely asks audiences to put aside preconceptions and travel back in time … thoughtful, gentle.” – Paul Bollwinkel, Bay Area Reporter, San Francisco

“Guthmann has created a winning portrait of his forebears … His portrait is an even-handed one: he doesn’t unconditionally praise the missionary effort, nor does he simply label it as just another facet of ‘evil imperialism.’ Highly recommended.” – Video Librarian

“I can’t thank you enough for putting this story on film for me and my children. I wanted the story to go on and on.” – Kathy Hartzok, missionary’s granddaughter, Chambersburg, PA

“Return to Cameroun” touched me deeply. The last third of the film found me in tears. This is a film about healing.” – Rev. David Franks. Ft. Lauderdale, FL

“Outstanding. This is one of the most meaningful films I have seen on this part of our mission field in Africa.” – Marj Carpenter, mission interpreter, Presbyterian Church (USA)

“A real labor of love … a beautiful production … The thrust of the Hopes’ commitment to service is shown without embarrassment .. the sense of love and respect as well as the costs of separation are beautifully told.”
– Wally Ellinger, Austin, TX

“A beautiful and sensitive piece of film making. I’m still recalling its rich and loving images.” – William Smith, San Francisco, CA