Tuesday, October 27, 2009

South African movie, White Wedding: A review

I just watched the South African movie, White Wedding again. After going through Tsotsi, Yesterday, Catch a Fire, Jerusalema and District 9, it was nice to watch an Mzansi movie that didn't deal with crime, AIDS or apartheid. Not that all super South Africans are about those subjects but you get my point. Local is indeed lekker and am loving South African cinema. I've been looking forward to see White Wedding ever since my friend told me about it and I had to have a friend who was in South Africa over the summer get me a copy. I've not been disappointed. The movie is great, maybe not spectacular like I thought, but great. And as usual, I got a whole lot to say about it, which is an even greater thing. Sharp, sharp!

"Marriage is one of the things God got right". White wedding is a movie about Ayanda and Elvis' wedding, though it doesn't happen the same way as originally planned. The movie takes us through what goes wrong leading up to the wedding day, amidst laughs, worries, twists and turns. The movie is well-made, and shows different places in South Africa. It also touches on different issues which I'll discuss, and features many languages - Xhosa, English, Afrikaans, French, etc. And then you have the soundtrack, :-). I was so excited when they played 'Thatis'gbuhu'. The two friends parked their car in the middle of the road, got out and danced. Now, isn't that just awesome? I am so enamored with South African music and culture. The wedding party was singing and dancing in the streets was particularly intriguing. Woza 2010!

"You hate your wife!" "That doesn't mean that I don't love her". The movie delves into different relationships. We have Tumi the player, who never gets out of character. His cunning smiles; his whole body language spits game half of the time. Awesome. The issue of trust and truth in relationships is central to the plot, with different characters having different takes on it. No matter what it is, if two people learn to trust each other, nothing really can come between them. It wins in the end. So love is not a load of bullocks. You can love someone to the point where "You can just enjoy long silences".

"I've been planning your wedding since you were born". The times have changed the way weddings and marriages are done. These days, we have the court wedding, the church wedding, the house wedding, the engagement and wedding weekend, amongst others. The way our forefathers used to marry is not the same way our generation seems to do it. But that does it matter? In Africa, weddings are not just about two people, they are also about families. Families want to be involved in which partner gets chosen and how the wedding goes down. Sometimes, following family fanfare can lead to bad choices but those choices must resonate well with relatives because in the Africa that surrounds us, family will not go anywhere. "You're a man with a nice car, no problem, women will throw themselves at you". Maybe, maybe not.

"Darkies don't use maps. Well, darkies get lost". Black South Africans call themselves darkies? Why do I think that may be a derogatory word? It's probably not the same as nigga but that caught my attention. I guess African directions are the same everywhere. "Then you come to 3 big threes". There was even mention of some woman you'd meet on the way. Black people don't use maps and we probably never will, now that we have GPS and smart phones. Who gives a goat a name? White people :-). If you give a goat a name, you'll definitely be a vegetarian, that's why you have to stay away from such. South Africans love meat! "Why hasn't the animal been slaughtered? Take it away, we need more meat". Now that's what's up!

"This is Tumi, if you want to talk, talk". (now, that's a fantastic voicemail prompt message). Even the word Kaffir got a mention. If this movie is anything to go by, racism hasn't disappeared from the South African landscape. I like how Elvis resisted blatant racism by forcing the white guy to have a drink with him. That's what I'll do. It will take a while before we see out the inherent fears different races have for each other. The reaction of the white guys at the pub to their black visitors was appalling. Elvis singing the Boer song (Delarey, delarey) was sweet though. Then again, he was drunk and alcohol can make you do some wonders. There is a bit of ignorance too when it comes to racial issues. Is it ignorance or confidence when a white lady jumps into a black stranger's car to hitch a ride without his knowing? And yeah, white people don't have rhythm like black people do. See movie for exhibit A.

Wait, there's Greyhound in South Africa? That was a surprise. That's what you call franchising. Kai, I hope they perform better there. After the way Nigerians have been portrayed in recent South African films, I was looking out for mentions of foreigners. We had one, a Congolese guy, who wasn't a drug dealer, but a party planner and car dealer. He knew how to get the party started. Now that's a favorable portrayal, because we know the Congolese are Africa's party starters - soukous, rumba, lingala music, etc. And then the gay wedding planner? The movie had to have a gay man pleading a major role? Why? Mxm.

"Vul'indlela we mamgobhozi; Vul'indlela yekela umona". It's always great to see your loved ones get married. What an appropriate song to round off the movie! You could see how excited Ayanda's mother was for her. Side note: South African women are fine (ayayai). I recommend 'White wedding'. The movie features one of my favorite South African actors, Kenneth Nkosi, as well as Rapulana Seiphemo, Zandile Msutwana, Jodie Whitaker, Lulu Nxosi, Marcel Van Heerden, Sandy Mzolo and Sylvia Mngxekeza. Kenneth and Rapulana were two of the writers behind the movie and they did a great job. The movie features black and white South Africa in a happy ending. "It will only be a mess if we make it one, let's choose something different, like a happy ending".
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