Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: David Kibuuka, Kim Engelbrecht, Kagiso Lediga
Director: John Barker
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
Up-and-coming comedians Kags, Joey and Dave make clear that life in the 'new' Johannesburg is not just about hardship and townships. It's also about finding humor in relationships, hanging out with friends and celebrating ... more »
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A South African Roadtrip
Amos Lassen | Little Rock, Arkansas | 05/17/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
A South African Roadtrip
Three comedians and a weird guy named Cope embark on a raucous weekend journey to Oppikoppi, South Africa's biggest rock festival. The guys slip out of the city for a few dusty and increasingly absurd days with hopes of mass debauchery, drugs, rampant sex, true love and conquering the comedy stages, but they get a bit more than they bargained for.
Three stand-up comedians from Johannesburg and a weird white guy are the central characters in this story. Without giving away too much of the plot, here is how the main characters set out
Dave (Dave Kibuuka) is probably the handsomest of the bunch. His friends think his girlfriend is out of his league, though. He is funny and charming off-stage, but has trouble with his material during performances.
Keg (Kegiso Lediga) has a big mouth and plenty of self-confidence. His beautiful girlfriend Kim (Kim Engelbrecht) wants to take their relationship "to the next level" He seems to have his reservations. She is suspicious when any women gets near him or even calls him.
Chubby Joey (Joey Yusuf Rasden) is the clown of the group. In his quieter moments, he contemplates if he is true enough to his Muslim heritage.
The three of them and the fast-talking white guy Salah (Salah Sabito) go on the road for a stand-up gig at a festival.
Like the successful television comedy Seinfeld, this movie focuses on the daily life of a stand-up comedian. Or in this case: three stand-up comedians. The location is not New York, but another cultural melting pot: Johannesburg. South Africa. Here is where the similarities stop, though.
Bunny Chow's photography (black & white shot in high definition video) gives it a rougher edge. There is no nudity or sex, but there is quite some swearing and macho talk about women. So this may not be your typical dating movie, but perhaps more something for a night with the guys..
What really works in this film are the naturally flowing dialogs and fine acting. What helps of course, is that most actors play characters that are not too removed from their real-life persona. As a result, this all feels very real, and not acted, without becoming a documentary.
There is good chemistry between the main characters.
This is basically a sequence of many - often funny - situations and events happening with a group of characters who happen to be stand-up comedians in South Africa. It is an apolitical, realistic and incredibly funny portrayal of life in Johannesburg.
Most movies made regarding South Africa all center on the old themes of apartheid, HIV/AIDS, poverty, the African condition, etc. "Bunny Chow" on the other hand, is about absolutely none of these things. It is just a movie, and as in all good movies, theme is subservient to character. What it does show is a few case studies on the new generation of South Africans, who can speak openly about contentious issues such as race in an atmosphere of mutual acceptance an even fascination.
Most importantly, though, is that it is funny. Some of the dialogue is absolutely hilarious. Another surprise is the cinematography. Every image and motion bursts with originality. Shot completely in black and white, this comedy has a seriousness that in the end turns it into a pleasure to watch.
The hand held camera was very bouncy. From the opening credits I was worried. Several of us watching it felt very nauseous by the end. But we did stay until the end because it was such a charming and interesting film, giving some insight to the young pop culture in South Africa. The black and white film did enhance the artful feeling of it. The acting seemed very authentic. Some of the dialog was a little hard to understand.
Zeno Petersen's handheld black-and-white camerawork immediately establishes a loose, caught-on-the-fly tone as three Johannesburg comedians set out for Oppikoppi, an annual rock festival where they hope to give their talents a test run.