Bunny Chow

2011-07-19 09:49
What it’s about

A trio of stand-up comedians sets off for Oppikoppi, SA’s biggest rock festival, hoping to enjoy a weekend of sex, drugs, rock ‘n roll and maybe a little comedy as well. The sharp-tongued Kags (Kagiso Lediga), a seasoned comic and incorrigible womaniser, is the leader of this band of misfits. He leaves behind his beautiful and extremely patient girlfriend, Kim (Kim Engelbrecht). Kags sees himself as a mentor to Dave (David Kibuuka), a young comedian struggling to build an act, though Dave isn’t sure he wants any of Kags’ “help”. Their friend Joey (Yusuf Rasdien) enjoys their antics, but is torn between being a comedian and a committed Muslim. On the way to the fest the trio are joined by Cope (Jason Cope), a wandering freeloader who lives to party.

What we thought:

Fans of local film have had a disappointing couple of years. Apart from Tsotsi, we’ve seen either over-hyped failures like Number 10 and Straight Outa Benoni, or well-intentioned damp squibs like The Flyer and Faith's Corner. There have been some bright spots on the art circuit - U-Carmen e-Khayelitsha for instance – but very little for ordinary movie lovers to get their teeth into. Until now that is…

Bunny Chow, with its smart mouth and self-assured swagger, is just the sort of breath of fresh air we’ve been looking for. Full of cheeky humour and playful banter, Bunny Chow never takes itself too seriously and yet manages to say more about being a young South African than a dozen more self-conscious films.

Shot on a shoestring budget, and entirely in black & white, the movie isn’t going to win any awards for technical perfection, but it has a gritty, unpolished charm that suits its subject matter down to the ground. Rather than harming the film’s appeal, the lack of colour actually adds to its edgy style, lending it a moody, guerilla-film feel. Director John Barker shows a talent for picking shots and setting scenes that makes the film’s sometimes shaky visuals seem charming rather than annoying.

But it’s the movie’s subject matter that really makes it worth watching. In a local industry dominated by heavy, important messages, it takes a certain amount of guts to make a movie this frivolous and fun. A huge part of Bunny Chow’s charm comes from how comfortable it is in its own skin. There may be a world outside girls, beers, gigs and gags, but Bunny Chow doesn’t care, and this lends it a surprising authenticity.

The film earns even more credibility with its daring “retro-scripting” approach. In this technique the screenwriters lay out the basic scenes and then allow the actors to improvise most of the dialogue. It’s a risky approach, but since most of the cast are comedians they’re used to working off-the-cuff and there are very few flat spots. It also means that the dialogue is more natural and often much funnier.

Given the low budget and improvisational style, Bunny Chow obviously leans heavily on its cast. Luckily these likeable misfits are more than up to the task, though you have to wonder where their characters end and their personalities begin. But, while the men are all charming and capable enough, it’s the marvellous Kim Engelbrecht who really stands out.

Bunny Chow is far from perfect. The sound is extremely patchy, the structure is a little haphazard, and some of the situational gags fall well short of their potential. But when it’s in the groove (which is most of the time), it is sweet, clever, honest and frequently laugh-out-loud funny. Don’t miss it.

- Alistair Fairweather
Bunny Chow is a local film that really breaks the mould. No apartheid, no AIDS, just four comedians on a road trip to a rock festival.

Catch it on Tuesday July 19 on Mzansi Magic (DStv 107) at 20:30.

Koos 2007/03/13 2:41 PM
laugh-out-loud funny I think LOL stinks , so I'll give this movie a miss ....
Alistair 2007/03/13 4:37 PM
No Koos - that's not what I meant I meant it will make you actually laugh out loud - not that it is like that dumb MNET show.
Da 1 Gp 2007/03/19 1:58 PM
Shap Gazi Ok at first i was a feeling a bit iffy about another SA Comedy. Personally Leon Pretty much killed the vibe. The very first season of PMS was best, hope this movie kinda mimics the actors interpretation of comedy as in PMS. Looking forward to it guys, but wat happend to David Kau???
Graeme 2007/03/31 8:28 AM
Go and see this movie! The movie is FUNNY! Not in a Hollywood way, but in a way that should appeal to young South Africans. Amazingly done on such a low budget, the script & acting are great. Lovely soundtrack too. Refreshing.
James 2007/09/06 9:28 AM
It's not all what it seems R100 000,00 shooting up to R4 000 000 is not a shoe string budget!
Mindlo 2008/03/23 5:06 PM
Sorry This movie was a bit dissapointing to me, the script was improvised, the pace is uneven and the comedy is quite thin. I just felt these dudes could do better since John Barker directed the 2nd PMS. Had it been other characters the maybe it could have worked out better
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