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Friday, May 18, 2007

The Gods Must Be Crazy

***** The Gods Must Be Crazy. Comedy.

Directed by: Jamie Uys
Starring: Marius Weyers, Sandra Prinsloo, N!xau

I thought I'd seen this when it was new (1980, but not out in US theaters until 1984), but either I'd forgotten a lot of it, or I'd only seen portions of it. We rented this one from Netflix.

A Coke bottle falls from an airplane and is found by Xi, a bushman, who takes it back to his family. They find it useful, but as it's the only one, they begin to fight over it, where they'd been only peaceful before. So Xi sets out to return the cursed object to the gods.

Meanwhile, a new teacher, Miss Thompson, arrives in Botswana, and is picked up by a scientist, Dr. Steyn, who's both enamoured and nervous around her. And there's a crazy revolutionary running around.

All three threads come together as Xi is on his quest.

There's humor--Dr. Steyn's difficulties with the land rover they call the anti-christ had me in stitches; action--mostly with the revolutionaries and the authorities trying to catch them; and romance--a very sweet romantic triangle with Miss Thompson caught between the earnest but tongue-tied Dr. Steyn and the slick bus-driving tour guide. The Gods Must Be Crazy is also part nature documentary on the Kalahari, and part sociological study.

The clash of cultures provides most of the humor and the serious moments--not only between primitive and civilized cultures, but also between men and women. And the narration prompts you to look at things, whether it's a familiar-seeming man making a fool of himself around a beautiful woman, or a bushman not understanding what was wrong with killing and eating a sheep, from the outside, as a scientific study perhaps. Which makes some things even funnier, and others more poignant or even profound.

It's a fairly low-budget, amateur-looking film, which only makes it feel more authentic and adds to its charm.

The unusual style took a bit of getting used to, but once they did, Carl and the kids loved this as much as I did.


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This is one of those that I thought I had seen. But your description doesn't sound familiar.. Oh, my bad memory.
Same here. I think I must have heard a lot about it when it was released, because I knew what it was about--at least the Coke bottle bit.
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