Hijack Stories

2007-06-04 14:36

This fast-paced, humorous and warm film by director SA Oliver Schmitz has taken a while to come home. Released in 2000, it has languished at various overseas film festivals, and is currently listed on the Cannes Film Fest site as Canadian - bizarre! Finally an SA release date is set for May 2.

Sox Moraka (Tony Kgoroge) plays an up and coming black actor competing for the role of a gang leader. At his audition, he freezes - though born in Soweto, he's lost touch with the township. He stays in a trendy Rosebank apartment and lives in the thin vein of Jo'burg metropolitan rainbow nationhood with his British girlfriend.

Sox returns to the ghetto to learn how to be a gangster. There he finds his long lost uncle, a lover and guide in Grace (beautifully played by Poshidi Motswega) and his gangster role model in an old school friend, Bra Zama (Rapulana Seiphemo). Zama, now the leader of a car hijack outfit, teaches Sox to survive in the real South Africa, while Sox teaches Zama to play his part better.

The film is chopped into sub-sections with naff subtitles indicating each stage in Sox's self-rediscovery process. It reaches a climax of sorts when the line between acting and reality is tragically erased, resulting in a hole in the stomach of Zama's best friend. This in turn leads to a massive plot-hole of a finale, something I'd normally expect from a bad American movie. Perhaps the ending is intended allegorically, but few films really get away with flaunting a known flaw.

It's an exiting film. A film that gave me the strongest sense I've ever had from a South African feature of really being here and being represented since Les Blair's JUMP THE GUN.

HIJACK STORIES avoids the visual and spoken cliches of setting, race and so on that plague South African films. The dialogue feels real - the actors seem on the whole natural in front of the camera. Jozi is the dirty, gorgeous and grimily romantic LA-of-Africa in establishing shots of the highways and cityscapes. Race and conflicts are dealt with through that unique brew of frankness, anger, humour and kinship that real South Africans feel every day.

For all its flaws, this film is not to be missed. It's genuine entertainment - it's got SVL, plus politics, and it's sweetened with many funny moments. We need to make more movies like it.

This fast-paced, humorous and warm film is a slice of life from the real 'New South Africa'.

Fanus 2003/05/04 12:05 AM
The Real SA I havent seen the movie yet. I am sure that it does not show the real SA as we stand at this moment. I would like to see a movie that tells the truth about SA as it is at the moment, but I am sure that our current government is the same as the previous one. They will only show stuff that make them look good. What a pity. My ticked is already paid to get out of this godforsaken country. THANK GOODNESS!!!!!! Nothing SA cause it's all lies.
Jean 2003/05/04 12:56 PM
If you haven't seen it, dont' judge it "I havent seen the movie yet." Er... I think that says it all! BTW, unlike in the old days, the SA government doesn't control which movies are on circuit. And this movie doesn't make them look good. Or entirely bad. It's all lies? Nothing is ALL lies. Nothing is all true. Why do you so desperately need to see things in black and white? The Quiet American
Mo 2003/05/06 9:13 AM
Amen to Fanus ok. I agree fully with Fanus. nothing of South Africa is good. really. I'm sorry. Our movies all show the good side of SA. which is......what? Thats why lipstick Dipstick was such a hit. the script did not sound rehearsed. Thats how true South African people are. These other movies are all sad. I can't wait to get my ticket out of here. I hate SA. its depressing. other countries at war, their feul comes down. ours goes up. now you say but ours is coming down. but then 2 weeks later goes up by more. NO POINT. sorry SA. I don't wanna be part of it. Getting you a ticket to another country.
Cynthia Bruggner 2007/09/24 8:22 AM
We wonder Why? Haven't seen the movie, will not see the movie. Why is it that we are horrified with the crime and violence in our schools and on our streets. When we make heros out of gangsters and their life style. No South Africa is not for me. But read your WORLD history Books. Because if we don't know our mistakes we will repeat them again and again. Which might be a good thing as we are half wat to messing up a fabulous country and must all just try a bit harder.
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