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Visa/Vie

Long Street Green Card Fantasy

by Kavish Chetty / 19.04.2011

In cinema theatres across the country when local cinema is playing, the audience is seized up in a collective déjà vu. For taste and decency, they probably don’t say it out loud. But the ones better versed in movie-going are all thinking to themselves, “Haven’t I seen this before?” and perhaps more sinisterly, “Haven’t the Americans done this already?” It is the first failing of Visa/Vie that it does not push the envelope. Instead, it hastily slaps its loyalty card into that envelope and mails it express to Hollywood, where it languishes in Woody Allen’s stack of fan-mail (another envelope of appreciation could also be sent to Jean-Luc Godard and the whole of the French New Wave, who have clearly had an aesthetic, but clearly not political or ideological, influence on the imagination of director Elan Gamaker).

Visa/Vie is an independent South African film and deserves every compliment for rising above the aspirational trauma (read: financial troubles) that plague films like this from getting released. But that is really an economic victory, and we can’t quite praise artists for securing money without making them sound like accountants.

At the opening, the threshold of the Labia theatre was thronged with smoke and wine glasses. Inside, I had the chance to experience a curious national quirk. When we watch a film that is obviously American in style, there’s something about the South African accent that forces us to laugh. It’s almost as if on a psychic level we recognise that something that should be familiar (the American drawl) is being swapped out for something that could never aspire to be its goal. So why were so many laughs directed at the pure novelty of the South African accent and the way it says things? Are we monkeys staring at ourselves in mirrors? Or, are we so desperate to love what our country produces, that we’ll look for any self-congratulatory signifier. Hey, that’s the Royale Eatery; there’s Hertzog Boulevard; there’s a coloured man making a fool of himself while, regrettably, standing in as representative for his whole culture (but more on this in another article), to whore out our chortles to?

David Isaacs

The narrative of Visa/Vie suffers from several problems. Here’s the plot quick-sticks: there is a French woman (who has the most obscene fetish for retro-gear, which includes recorders, telephones, dresses, old puzzles, shoes, books and a car). She is very pretty, but through some bizarre trick of lighting at some points in the film she looks as orange as Deborah Patta. She works as a waitress at the Royale Eatery, until two cops show up and tell her there’s a problem with her visa and she has 48 hours to leave the country. Her plan is to audition a league of gentlemen, with the hope of marrying one of them and prolonging her stay in the country indefinitely. My initial reaction to this was “what exactly is the jeopardy here?!” She has almost zero connection to this country other than being a waitress (and probably making a very average wage – which makes me wonder how she affords all the Kloof-Street-chic retro-gear), she appears to have no friends other than a car guard and some 50s-style Spaniard woman with Italian flair (whom she appears to dislike), and her boss (the coolest guy in the film, who showed up at the screening in a black satin shirt and pony-tail) makes inappropriate comments to her in Afrikaans. Are we supposed to think, “Oh shame, she’s going to be deported back to France with an EU passport, and spend the rest of her life eating saltimbocca in Italy, visiting the Louvre and generally being another self-obssessed Gaul living a life crammed with privilege?” How exactly is the audience supposed to relate to this woman? At any rate, we’re a nation known for our xenophobia – isn’t the more likely reaction to wish this opportunistic illegal alien gets the fuck out of our country?

If this film were set in America, where she might stand the chance to score the coveted Green Card, it would make much more sense. Have you seen Babel? It’s not the greatest film around, but there is a clear logic to the Mexican immigrant woman who is facing deportation, and the drama surrounding her struggle is pure tragedy.

The centrepiece and undoubted highlight of the movie is the middle, where she auditions a bunch of guys for the role of husband – trotting out a whole cross-section of stereotypes from across the rainbow nation. I’ve been thinking lately that “muesli nation” might be a better way to describe us, given that there isn’t any black, white or brown in the rainbow. But, I digress. The sequence is well-edited and quite funny, with David Isaacs doing a particularly splendid job as a lecherous middle-class asshole with a sole patch. She interviews a bunch of guys and none of them meet her standard. Then, in strolls a young and hip coloured dude wearing a slight ‘fro and bell-bottoms. She kind of falls in love with him during a montage spent running through thigh-high flower stalks and hanging out in isolated spots near the mountain. The real jeopardy one would have thought, is that she’s clearly 60s New-Wave and he’s 70s Disco – how will their indie sensibilities clash? Instead, given the five minutes of screen time they share no chance for a proper romance develops, when he tells her he doesn’t have a passport (so, how the hell is this guy, with his South African accent and clear South African heritage living in the country?) so she quits him. Mid-way through the film, she knocks over a puzzle of Africa, and spends the rest of the film trying to rebuild it. Symbolism, anyone?

Visa/Vie

The film critic of substance – which is to say the one who doesn’t consider a review the chance to dole out plot-point and superlative in equal measure and leave it at that – is the most maligned and hated figure of the artistic industry. He is required to have as an occupational hazard a more interrogatory opinion than that of the average slush-puppy guzzling cinema-goer. But to surrender himself to the nationalistic alternative would be a suicide of ideas and a very well-masked condescension. The condescension is everywhere, and most dangerously hidden in that old time slogan, “local is lekker”. The idea that local is lekker was itself a codeword to produce bullshit art and media without guilt, because presumably the fact that it was local would mean instead of asking what place this piece of art has in a reconstructive society like South Africa, we should button up our flies and sing “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika” instead (the consequences are something like the continued livelihood of the Kookwater Treffers series). I understand that it’s fucking difficult to make movies in Afrika Borwa. But it’s one thing to praise a cast and crew for overcoming the local odds – which almost entirely pivot on money and its absence – and quite another thing to praise faulty, cliché-riddled scripts or average cinema just because it came out of your country. Elan Gamaker and his film-making team have properly excelled at the former, and I give them full credit for it. But how condescending would it be to praise the substance of that film, which simply stakes out old territory already pockmarked by the flags of hundreds of other directors, just because it’s local? Avoiding that condescension is the duty of any self-respecting film critic, and he should probably settle for being slagged off by artists (or those who speak and perform under that overly illustrious title) rather than selling himself out to popular sentiment.

I suppose Visa/Vie can be quite funny at times, even though it tries to be coercively charming. When it comes to considering whether you will support this film at your local cinema, think in the following terms: as a strategic move, it is kind of your duty. Everybody knows the logic by now: the more films like this you watch, the more money it makes, the greater the chance for better films to follow. Just be mindful that you’re being patronising. Setting one standard for us and another for the rest is doing the whole industry an injustice. The question should always be: “Is this a good film?” not, “Is this a good film for South Africa?”

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RESPONSES (44)
  1. Friend Of A Friend says:

    Jeesh nicely written. I saw the trailer for this some months ago and it was terrible. I think they were trying to sell the movie as a comedy and it just wasn’t. Great poster though and yes Melodie is French hot!

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  2. Thishiwe says:

    She’s carrying a bag of oranges on the poster. Let me guess…. The bag breaks?

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  3. Thishiwe says:

    AAAARRRRRGGGGGHHH Damn you Mahala auto scroll.

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  4. Lizzy says:

    um, but why didnt they just use a beautiful waitress woman from congo or ivory coast? then the french play on words would still be appropriate and her desire to remain in SA infinately more plausable.
    strange that no-one seems to have considered this.

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  5. Lizzy says:

    maybe a hot white frenchwoman sells more tickets and gets more funding…

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  6. Andy says:

    that would move it out of Royale and into the street… but i like where your head is at Lizzy

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  7. random says:

    “…there’s a coloured man making a fool of himself while, regrettably, standing in as representative for his whole culture (but more on this in another article)…”

    Please, Mr Chetty. Can we? Please?

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  8. Mezzaluna says:

    @random

    huh? can we? can you what?

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  9. random says:

    @Mezzaluna

    can we please explore the themes in the in the sentence I quoted… from the article… that I’m assuming you read…

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  10. idiocracy says:

    I’ve seen this film before, and it was just plain average with a mild hipster touch. Why was it so well recieved? Well, this article makes a solid start on answering that question.

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  11. layla says:

    “The real jeopardy one would have thought, is that she’s clearly 60s New-Wave and he’s 70s Disco – how will their indie sensibilities clash?” Too funny.

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  12. The Fnord says:

    It’s shame that we’re making generic films when we don’t have the same studio interference that force filmmakers from other countries to make their films formula based.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    I was at the screening and couldn’t agree more.

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  14. Elaine Scarry says:

    I was at the screening last year at the Durban Film Festival. I and what seemed like the rest of the audience really enjoyed a film that was light, fun and stylish, and felt like a breath of fresh air for local cinema.

    So, to be honest, I am a bit confused by the level of bitterness in this writer’s words.

    Don’t you think it’s a bit insulting and arrogant to tell us why we as South Africans laugh at a film? It’s also sounds a bit strange to complain about a film’s supposed Hollywood content (which I don’t agree with anyway), and then ask for precisely the kind of script elements (jeopardy, etc) that American audiences need?

    He is right that there are two kinds of film reviewers: journalists who don’t want to offend, and offensive critics who are failed/frustrated filmmakers. From this review I have an idea which category Mr Chetty might fall into.

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  15. Conny says:

    I think it is quite appropriate to critique Ms. Scarry’s comment. Comparatively to the article, which makes some valid points, you do not raise any argumentative points in support of your emotive claims. Critiquing anything really is done most successfully when one focusses on the content, rather than on the author. Furthermore, it might possibly be a good idea to open a dictionary and look up what the word ‘bitterness’ means. Attempting to apply it to the article (after actually knowing what the word means) seems horribly inappropriate, unless Mr. Chetty was molested by a South African film when he was younger.

    It should also be mentioned that the script elements that Mr. Chetty is referring to holds closer relations to Aristotle’s theories and philosophies than to what ‘American audiences need’. It can therefore be deduced that Mr. Chetty is referring to what a Western audience ‘needs’. Which as a result of globalization can these days be seen as most of the post-colonial world. Mr. Chetty is clearly well read, which would put him in a position of authority to critique the arts. Therefore, before one critiques an author it is advisable to make sure that you can at least be on equal footing with said author, which can easily be done by reading less Cosmo and more Aristotle.

    PS: Here is a link with the Oxford definition of bitterness. It should save some time and effort:

    http://oxforddictionaries.com/view/entry/m_en_gb0977690#m_en_gb0977690

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  16. Eponymous says:

    Got to agree with Conny here. Elaine Scarry is one of these typical Mahala thread-posters who don’t actually engage with the content of the article, and just basically waffle off their unsubstantiated opinion. Most often, this type of poster will reference their experience, ie,

    “I was at the screening last year at the Durban Film Festival. I and what seemed like the rest of the audience really enjoyed a film that was light, fun and stylish” etc.

    Did you really, Elaine? Thanks for letting us know.

    Firstly, re: the Hollywood content. This film is about a woman who wants to fake a marriage to stay in the country. Where I come from, that’s your typical Hollywood rom-com dross.

    Secondly, you clearly don’t know what the word bitterness means, as Conny’s said above.

    And thirdly, where in the article does he say there are “two types of film critics”. You made that part up, and to be honest, you’re talking shit. You say their are journalists who don’t want to offend and frustrated film-makers. So, in other words, there’s no such thing as a real film critic.

    Please, get a fucking clue, sweetheart.

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  17. Michole says:

    Oh, this film got served! I’d like to see someone give a decent defence of the picture in light of this criticism.

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  18. Elaine Scarry says:

    Where do we start?

    Let’s see: we have someone calling themselves ‘Eponymous’ (how witty) who complains that I use “unsubstantiated opinion” and proceeds to use terms as urbane and informed as “you’re talking shit” and “get a fucking clue, sweetheart”.

    Now, this abusive and misogynistic hypocrisy aside – not to mention the wonderfully oxymoronic term ‘unsubstantiated opinion’ – I can’t help but notice that these responses to my comment (note: comment, not statement of fact) seem to be in the same snide and superior tone as Mr Chetty’s.

    I am not ‘defending’ the film nor should I need to. I was merely expressing surprise at the tone of the article. I am not suggesting film reviewers are all failed filmmakers, but when I come across a piece filled with – yes – bitterness I draw such conclusions.

    It’s very helpful of Conny to provide me with a dictionary definition of the word – how droll, how wonderfully dripping in sarcasm – as it confirms what I originally wrote. Mr Chetty has to be bitter, otherwise how do you explain so much bile and opprobrium over a film that has clearly pleased so many others? If you’re bemused by a film’s apparent appeal that’s one thing, but if you actually resent it, that’s another. Sounds like a free ticket gone to waste.

    Mr Chetty does indeed imply there are two kinds of film critics. He writes: “The film critic of substance – which is to say the one who doesn’t consider a review the chance to dole out plot-point and superlative in equal measure and leave it at that – is the most maligned and hated figure of the artistic industry.” (No, this isn’t my opinion, it’s his subtext).

    In this, the writer is implying he is the heroic former, bravely seeing through the supposed fervour and saving the public from undue hype or, God forbid, enthusiasm. Quite frankly, I can do without Mr Chetty’s superior, moralising ‘help’ in separating what he sees – and thinks we should see – as the wheat from the chaff. (It might be worth noting that Mr Chetty writes for the Weekend Argus, and that his article in that paper provides exactly the obsequious coverage of the film he is decrying… but I guess he was paid for that one).

    How interesting to find such hostility on the famed blogosphere… I prefer to stay in the real world and engage in the responses of people around me, people with beating hearts who are able to sit down and enjoy themselves without sitting at their dark desks and either bemoaning the failure of ‘high art’ or projecting wildly onto artists who actually go out there and make things.

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  19. sweat and tears says:

    How movies manage to get made here has an influence on how they turn out. This means that the two are linked. One can praise the ‘average’ artistic nature of a local film knowing that the trials and tribulations involved in creating it may have denuded its artistic potential somewhat. ‘Unearned’ praise is often for what was achieved in spite of what was in the way.

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  20. Anonymous says:

    Whoa! Getting nasty in here folks, it’s just a film.
    I saw it at the Cape Winelands Fest in Feb and in reponse to Michole: I really enjoyed the film a lot. The lead actress (French, cant remember her name) is charming, the capetown locations look great and there’s such an nice energy about it. The interview scene with men is hilarious. I’m not saying its a perfect film but how many films can you go to with your folks and ebveryone comes out with a smile on their faces. It also has a great jazz score by Restless Natives. When so many SA films are filled with issues it’s nice to chill and enjoy a film… or maybe we aren’t allowed to enjoy ourselves wathcing SA films????? Huh???

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  21. Michole says:

    Hi Elaine.

    Where are the examples of “bile” and “opprobrium” in what I read as a critical, but clearly not hateful review?

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  22. Eponymous says:

    @ elaine scarry

    I’ll be nice, this time.

    1. You accuse Conny of sarcasm, yet your opening paragraph is guilty of the same.

    2. ‘Unsubstantiated opinion’ is not oxymoronic. It is possible to give an opinion, while offering motivation for why you think that opinion should be taken seriously. Thereby, one ‘substantiates’ one’s opinion, or adds substance to the otherwise naked proposition. Nice try.

    3. You did suggest film critics were failed film-makers; your other option was that they were just being polite, or not wishing to offend. Those terms are not contained within the article.

    4. As Michole asks, where is all this bile in the review? Just because it’s critical doesn’t mean it’s bitter or nasty. What about this sentence: “The sequence is well-edited and quite funny, with David Isaacs doing a particularly splendid job as a lecherous middle-class asshole with a sole patch”. What about all the acknowledgement that making this film was tough and that the makers should be praised for managing to get the film made?

    5. He didn’t imply there were “two types of film critics” – that’s a binary that _you_ deduced. He made a comment on what separates a film critic of substance from the rest (unelaborated, most likely plural) – he said a film critic of substance is, “one who doesn’t consider a review the chance to dole out plot-point and superlative in equal measure and leave it at that.” So the binary is not sub-text; it’s a problem with your interpretation.

    6. You talk about what film critics think we should see. Isn’t that their point? To offer a stimulus for a debate by taking a closer, critical (the key is the word: critic) approach to a film?

    7. etc.

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  23. Elaine Scarry says:

    @Michole and ‘Eponymous’, do these sound like even-handed, unemotional, intelligent arguments that offer ‘stimulus’ for debate?

    “Or, are we so desperate to love what our country produces, that we’ll look for any self-congratulatory signifier.”

    “At any rate, we’re a nation known for our xenophobia – isn’t the more likely reaction to wish this opportunistic illegal alien gets the fuck out of our country?”

    “Mid-way through the film, she knocks over a puzzle of Africa, and spends the rest of the film trying to rebuild it. Symbolism, anyone?”

    Again, I wasn’t saying he doesn’t have the right not to like the film. It’s just his tone: yet another local pessimist. Anyway, enjoy this argument. It’s become increasingly dull to read snide people defending the indefensible.

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  24. Elaine Scarry says:

    @Eponymous

    One more thing I forgot to mention: fuck off, you sexist arsehole.

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  25. Jez says:

    gotta say one thing for the flick – it’s getting peeps hot under the collar, must be a good thing… lol

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  26. Eponymous says:

    @ elaine scarry

    Just the two things:

    1. You are a master of bullshit rhetoric. In order to serve your arguments now, you’ve written “even-handed” and “unemotional” when quoting. Who said anything about even-handed and unemotional? This guy is clearly a polemical writer, and this site is known for its strong opinions. So, find your even-handed, unemotional stuff elsewhere. To claim this isn’t intelligent stimulus for debate is laughable.

    2. I’m a sexist arsehole, why exactly? Because I called you “sweetheart”? Jesus, that’s such a sexist thing to say. Perhaps you’d have preferred “bitch”, or something more pithy like “suck my cock ’cause your arguments have proved that’s all you’re good for, you cum-rag incubator.”

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  27. Jennifer Cowley says:

    @ Eponymous

    I read your response to Elaine’s first comment and kind of agreed, even though it’s a pretty stupid argument given that we’re talking about OPINIONS here. It seemed she was being a bit unreasonable, after all noone was saying she shouldn’t enjoy the film. I did agree with her that the review was very very negative – I haven’t seen the film but am curious; I’m not expecting anything great but I have heard it’s fun and the trailer seems cool.

    Now that I’ve read through your later responses, I have to say you’re a real jerk. Do you really have nothing better to do than spew your offensive shit on the web? I guess not. Yes, it is offensive to call someone ‘sweetheart’, because you’re stating that the fact that she’s a woman devalues what she wrote. It doesn’t, but you obviously have zero grasp of what constitutes sexism (which makes me wonder how much you understand about less complex things, like film). Your response just proves her right. I suggest you get a life.

    No doubt your little brain will think up some suitable sexist slur to use on me, but don’t bother, I won’t be coming back to Mahala again. This blog has certainly lived up to the meaning of its name.

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  28. Kevin says:

    @Sweat and Tears

    totally agree mate

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  29. Thishiwe says:

    @Jennifer (Not that you’ll be reading this)

    You’re not coming back to a site because one person in the comment section offended you?

    I agreed with your critique of @eponymous’s comments until that point but when I read that it made me wonder how much you understand about less complex things, like the internet.

    I won’t be reading your comments again, they certainly have lived up to their name.

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  30. Alexis K says:

    People can take issue with the nasty way eponymous says things, but no one appears to be able to disagree with WHAT he actually says. Also, this calling someone “sweetheart” thing being sexist…. please, get a life. Jennifer said, “because you’re stating that the fact that she’s a woman devalues what she wrote”. How is all that contained in the word “sweetheart”? How does it “devalue” what she wrote? Serial. Super-serial.

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  31. Olivia says:

    @Thishiwe and Alexis

    Aren’t you being a little naive? Or is it uncool to be offended by things which seem ‘harmless’ (but by extension are offensive…) That’s the classic bigot’s defence: “C’mon, chill out, where’s your sense of humour?”

    Strange to see blog posters who seem stuck in the gender politics of the 1940s. After all, if what eponymous wrote isn’t sexist, why are you assuming he’s male?

    Btw: I do disagree what WHAT he says. Pretty much all of it.

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  32. MJ says:

    catfight!

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  33. Eponymous says:

    @Olivia

    And here you come, serving up another hot plate of unsubstantiated opinion: “I do disagree what WHAT he says. Pretty much all of it.” Do you? Well, I disagree with you. But I’m not going to bother saying why. So let’s all just keep disagreeing with each other, generating as much uselessness as we can.

    You people need to get something straight. Your opinions aren’t worth shit. The arguments behind your opinions are where its at. That’s when people can start to engage you.

    Anyway, don’t worry. I know why the name “sweetheart” is perceived as sexist, but I want to hear one of you women explain it in your own terms, because quite frankly, you all seem to get touchy and grab the nearest piece of moral high-ground, but I don’t think you know what you’re actually talking about. Elaine’s idea was that it was because “because you’re stating that the fact that she’s a woman devalues what she wrote”.

    Is that true? Where in the word sweetheart does the idea of ‘woman’ reside? My girlfriend calls me sweetheart everyday, and it’s pretty obvious I’m not a woman. A woman was once disagreeing with me and she ended off by calling me “cupcake” in a really speaking-down-to-me kind of way. I felt condescended to and patronised, much like Elaine probably feels when I call her sweetheart. But why I can’t I call the sexist card on that?

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  34. David Hunter says:

    People got a chat room going on here jong!

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  35. Sightseer says:

    Amidst all the bile and acrimony, could someone PLEASE tell me what and where was the beautiful place (presumably in Cape Town) where the couple had some of their romantic interludes – it looked like a former quarry, but was cultivated and looked idyllic, with a cliff-like backdrop. We saw the movie during the Film Festival last year, and I remember spotting in the credits a name ending in “Gardens”, but missed the rest of the name. When we were down in CT recently, no-one seemed to know about it. The one former quarry we were directed to, the Murray & Stewart Quarry, was very definitely a far cry from the beauty spot in the movie. Help, please?!

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  36. Conny says:

    I am glad to see there are people with passion left in this country (what I draw from the numerous emotive responses). I think it should be mentioned that offense is taken not given. I’ll run the risk of sounding slightly pretentious and quote Shakespeare: “Nothing good or bad, only thinking makes it so”.

    Also I can’t resist to say to Elaine that it does damage to your argument of criticizing bloggers for not living in the real world by doing so via blog. (I have my suspicions that even though you said you won’t be reading any more comments that you will more than likely return). Also at Elaine, I wasn’t being sarcastic, when I gave you that definition I was being patronizing. Kind of emphasizes my point of opening a dictionary once in a while.

    Although I think it that everyone should have the right to leave a debate when they choose, doing so because you are being criticized seems to me to be indicative of a lack of confidence in the strength of your argument.

    I wish I had some dip because with all these chips on people’s shoulders we could all have had a great party.

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  37. Podesta says:

    havent seen this movie, but i agree that its a problem we praise s.a movies just for making it on screen. wait till you see paradise stop and skyf. then y’all can reallly start dissing and whining about crap s.a movies. oh and though south africa is most definitely xenophobic, it likes its asian and white foreigners, it’s the black ones we burn.

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  38. Sarah_j_fell says:

    love it:

    “The condescension is everywhere, and most dangerously hidden in that old time slogan, “local is lekker”. The idea that local is lekker was itself a codeword to produce bullshit art and media without guilt, because presumably the fact that it was local would mean instead of asking what place this piece of art has in a reconstructive society like South Africa, we should button up our flies and sing “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika” instead”

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  39. Just an observer says:

    This fictional frenchy aside, it seems to me that Royale is full of resentful, haven’t-quite-made-it-yet, retro-dressing, inconceivably rude waitresses anyway.

    They should all be deported.

    Why does every ‘local’ (meaning CT, not SA) artistic venture always seem to be a disguised celebration of the (completely unoriginal) scene created by a bunch of rich-daddy white coolios and the token coloured friends they decide to grace with ‘icon’ status, revolving around that particularly nauseous corner of Long Street where Fiction overlooks Royale and the long march up Kloof begins?

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  40. PO says:

    Yes! Can we start a petition to deport all Royale waitresses? Please?

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  41. Andre P says:

    Well i loved the film so based on this blog i must be stupid or sexist or something else even worse!!!!

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  42. Anonymous says:

    I also really enjoyed it!!! had a good time and I am not south African!!!

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  43. FuriousDave says:

    going back to the original point (or what it seems) of the argument above… this isn’t a film review, because good film reviews are well-informed and give us a sense of the nature of a film, its intentions, how well executed these intentions were and what kind of audience will respond best to it.

    it’s the worst kind of self-aggrandisement… the ‘reviewer’ is basically trying to show us all how smart he is, how big his Thesaurus is, how witty he is and how much he (seems to) know about film. which makes me agree with an earlier poster that Chetty may be either a frustrated filmmaker or a lucky-packet film theorist above/below his imagined station.

    Chetty mentions the French New Wave but seems to have no real knowledge of the genre, unable as he is to see beyond his own blinkered Hollywood-script-editor take on films. in the Nouvelle Vague films there was little or no ‘motivation’ for character action, often no true jeopardy (except internal) and no three-act cathartic hero’s journey structure. yet the films endure. clearly Visa-vie, which seems a flight of fancy to me, is more a homage than anything else. it’s not a perfect film but at least it had the audacity to play with genre conventions and tweak them to south african preoccupations.

    i’d rather see a small, earnest film with flaws than a large one with a dodgy political motivation. i’d rather go watch Visa-Vie than Transformers 3D. and it’s not because i’m a patriot, because the same applies to something like Life, Above All, which is a retread of the same “black-people-with-Aids” thing we’re meant to swallow just because it deals with “issues”.

    as far as i’ve seen, it’s unique in SA cinema in even attempting something like this, making it a local rarity: a cine-literate SA film.

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  44. 280andout says:

    this review is total bullshit. i saw Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere, which won Venice, and, likewise, there’s no plot, no ‘jeopardy’, no nothing. yet people like it because it feels sincere and is a thoughtful film. like this one (and the others in the labia seemed to enjoy it as much as i did)

    amazing how south africans won’t allow themselves simple pleasures… get a grip people it’s not 1994…

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