The Journey with Jesus: Film Reviews
Film Reviews by Dan Clendenin
In the first few minutes of this South African film two young teenage friends discover a dead body with a huge pistol and a video camera. The shy introvert Madiba chooses the camera, while cocky Sipho takes the gun. The film explores the consequences of those choices. Madiba hides the VCR in a home-made wooden camera, enabling him to shoot everyone and anything on the sly. He experiments with the aesthetic, technical and voyeuristic aspects of film-making. Refracting light with different lenses, candles, floating plastic bags, and even the bubbles of a drink awaken his artistic bent. His cinematic creations form a significant portion of the film. "Some day," he hopes, "my pictures will hang in houses." Sipho's gun awakens in him foolish bravado, and we watch him descend to petty crime, drugs, gangs and finally horrible tragedy. Between them both is an improbable, budding romance between Madiba and a rebellious white girl, Estelle, from a wealthy family with racist secrets of their own. This film is good, not great, but well worth watching for its themes of adolescence, choices, fate, friendship, and racism in a post-apartheid township of Cape Town.