Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Three reasons I don’t plan to see Invictus …

… despite my being an ex-South African who was moved by the episode the movie depicts and despite loving that poem.

  1. Movies are for escape. I have no interest in serious depictions of serious matters in which stuff doesn’t get blowed up real good and there are neither monsters nor space ships. Major babes are also helpful, but they’re not sufficient in and of themselves. Of course, this objection applies to many other movies, too.
  2. I’m sick to death of the unspoken belief that South African history began with the end of Apartheid. Both white and black history in South Africa extends far back beyond that and is full of fascinating stories – and many of them actually have nothing to do with race relations! Even those enormous figures who did have a great impact on race relations had interesting and important lives outside that area. (And black history in South Africa involves more than Chaka and Mandela.)
  3. I’m even sicker of movies set in South Africa in which South African characters are played by American actors. Yeah, I know about box office. It’s also possible that Eastwood is friends with Damon and Freeman and wanted to work with them. I don’t care. South Africa has a movie industry of its own and a goodly supply of fine actors, black and white. They’d work for less than the Hollywood stars, they’d do a better job, and they’d get the accents right. South African actors are also objecting. Let’s hope that does some good.


TGirsch said...

Regarding Point #1, I've been saying this for years. So THANK YOU for showing I'm not alone.

If I want real life, I'll turn on the news or look out the window. If I want to be depressed, I'll remind myself that the worthless Democratic Party is actually by far the BETTER one. If I want to be inspired, I'll go to a museum.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go watch The Fifth Element for the forty-seventh time.

David said...

Now there's a movie with all of the above elements.

When I was in college, I went to movies that I thought were important and good for me. I'm glad I've grown up since then.

Anonymous said...

The "nastiness of the life" seems to have returned to your blog comments. Perhaps this kind of scam could be a movie plot.

David said...


Do you mean those spam advertising comments? They're showing up in my blog at a rate of 2-3 a day lately. I hope it doesn't increase beyond that.

Is this Pat Shea? How's it going?

Anonymous said...

I've always thought of movies the same way I think of books: they suit what I need at any given time. If I want to escape, I watch some explosions or a romantic kissy-face movie.

Others tell a good story, illustrate an experience, or convey an emotion I haven't personally had but might be able to, in small part, experience through the characters and maybe learn a little something, gain some new insight, develop some empathy.

About the many stories in South African history - have you thought about tackling one of the lesser known, but equally powerful, stories in your own writing?

David said...

South African writers have written such novels, but most of them seem to have been ignored by the outside world.

Years ago, I was planning a big South African historical novel. A big name in the publishing industry whom I discussed it with dismissed the idea and said that South African novels didn't sell.

Maybe times have changed because South Africa is so much more in the news now in this country. Or maybe it's only movies about South Africa that sell - movies involving Apartheid figures and starring famous American actors.