Sunday, November 26, 2006

Catch an interesting film

Given the celebration of Rabbit Proof Fence, it seems strange that Philip Noyce's follow up film Catch a Fire seems to have such a low profile. The film is particularly interesting for the portrayal of Nik Vos by Tim Robbins. In one scene, the Boer anti-terrorist expert is shown singing a gentle folk song accompanied by guitar with his young family. The film touches on the anxiety that formed the base to Apartheid, as well as the demoralising effects this had on its victims.

In an inteview for Emanuel Levy, Noyce admits a particular resonance as an Australian working on a film set in South Africa.

 For Noyce, the most challenging part of making Catch a Fire was “being a white Australian tackling a South African story that deals with so many events of historical significance to that country. I very quickly began immersing myself in South African culture and history.

And reflecting on his experiences in researching white South Africans:

Talking to those police officers as I did — to many of them, ex-police officers in South Africa — I realized that they all saw themselves as Africans. That was a strange concept to me: How could a white person think of himself as African? And yet many of them lay claim to 300 years or more of continued residency in southern Africa. Some of them said, "Well, I've been here longer than Patrick Chamusso, than his forefathers. I'm African." Others said, "We were fighting a vicious, determined enemy, who was determined to destroy everything that we'd fought to build up here."

Elsewhere, he says...

the South Africans are a beacon to the rest of us; they are the light at the end of the tunnel that we never seem to see an end to - the tunnel of seemingly irresolvable differences between us all


David J said...

Great post Kevin,
I'll look out for the film. South African culture and history is amazing and something I think should be taught in schools in Australia. The dynamics and complex connection between white and black South Africans and the land they both feel so strongly about could be one of the worlds greatest tragic love stories.
I am looking out for any other films/stories about apartheid, it's conception and eventual dismantling. South Africa is a brave nation and despite their troubles and mistakes they have set some very special examples for others on the road to reconciliation. I hope the country is able to resolve it's conflicts and the people there can eventualy live in peace. Have you read Cry the Beloved Country?

Kevin Murray said...

Stay tuned as the South Project goes to Johannesburg next year and tries to develop a dialogue with these issues across the south. I've been reading Zakes Mda, who offers a fresh vision of the new South Africa, one that involves an uneasy but durable co-existence. I'm afraid that Cry Beloved Country is ahead of me.