Monday, November 16, 2009

What can we learn from South African Film Locations?

 District 9, released in 2009, is a science-fiction movie, reflecting many realities of South Africa's past and present. It was a block-buster hit of 2009, and to date, has grossed $200 million. Sara Vilkomerson, a movie critic at The New York Observer wrote:

"District 9 is the most exciting science fiction movie to come along in ages; definitely the most thrilling film of the summer; and quite possibly the best film I've seen all year."

Other critics were equally complimentary

Interestingly, the movie was shot on location in Chiawelo, in Soweto. In fact, the setting was mostly that of a shanty town, a typical township. Typical of the poverty and impoverished neighbourhoods that many South Africans are living in

Tsotsi tells the story of a South African street thug, who finds a baby on the back seat of a car he stole. The film was resleased in 2005. It was set in a slum, in Soweto. The film won an Oscar, and to date, has grossed $10 million.

 Jerusalema is a film that deals with the criminal underworld of Hillbrow, Johannesburg. It was submitted to the Academy Awards to qualify for a nominee, but was not selected

What I find fascinating about these movies is that they are all set within parts of South Africa, that many South Africans would rather not acknowledge. The poverty of township life, the criminal activity that exists within shanty towns, the thuggery of Hillbrow's organised criminal underworld.

But these 'negative' aspects of South Africa are the essential backdrops for these successful and critically acclaimed movies

There is a saying that goes "One man's rubbish is another man's treasure". Well, South Africa has so much 'rubbish' that the international movie industry, at least, recognizes as treasure. And that industry is willing to exploit our treasures.

The lesson, I feel, that can be learnt is that South Africa has so many unique issues, that we need to not only acknowledge, but also embrace. Some of those issues are not particulalry pleasant, but they are ours. And they can be seen as treasures

And so too in our personal lives, we have many personal issues. Let us view them as treasures, learn from them, and exploit them for the unique role they play in our lives


Look out for Invictus, a movie directed by Clint Eastwood, detailing Nelson Mandela's life during the 1995 Rugby World Cup. It is due for release on December 11, 2009. It stars Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman

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