In Darkest Hollywood: Exploring the Jungles of South Africa

Peter David, Author, Peter Davis, Author Ohio University Press $19.95 (225p) ISBN 978-0-8214-1162-9
This intriguing book, a companion volume to a documentary film of the same name, elaborates how screen views of South Africa, especially of black South Africans, long helped maintain distorted, racist images. Documentary filmmaker Davis selects specific genre films for analysis. In the 1950s, the author shows, the South African government permitted the start of a black-created cinema, with such films as Jim Comes to Jo'burg and Zonk. Ironically, after apartheid intensified in the 1960s, filmmakers both inside and outside South Africa produced black-white ""buddy"" movies, such as Sidney Poitier's The Wilby Conspiracy. Davis is most scornful toward Jamie Uys's successful but ""treacherous"" The Gods Must Be Crazy, which misrepresented the black liberation struggle, Davis says, by focusing on the romantic ""Noble Savage"" figure of Xi rather than his more real South African counterparts. The big films of the 1980s, such as A World Apart and A Dry White Season, pushed white heroes above black ones; Davis notes that Cry Freedom softened the views of Steve Biko, whose black-consciousness philosophy urged independence from whites. The author also surveys a series of films that perpetuate images of warlike Zulus. Unfortunately, it is only in his introduction that Davis acknowledges such recent films as Sarafina! and Friends, which offer new images of South Africa. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/04/1996
Release date: 11/01/1996
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.