Movies don’t just come from California Hollywood. Some even come from South Africa. The Wooden Camera is a film of such aperture. Not many films come out of South Africa, but this one did and it was definitely worth seeing. Shot on location in South Africa it tells the tale of a two young boys who find a dead body. With this body is a gun and a video camera. The energetic boy, Sipho and the mild mannered boy, Madiba takes the video camera. The film follows the two boys as the one with the gun leads a life of crime and the one with the camera gets more involved in the artistic side of him.
The Wooden Camera just isn’t a movie about the journey of these two boys but it’s also a look at the vast differences of the rich and poor class in South Africa. The film shows that there is a huge gap between the poor and the rich, not geographically but economically.
The poor and rich communities are pretty much right next to each other, divided by a highway, close enough to walk from one town to the next. The poor families are living in junk shacks crowded together screaming out their need of help. But even though they may be poor they are still a community and help each other. The rich community is a vast land of shops, malls and million dollar homes. The Wooden Camera shows the union and the clash of these two sects of people, as the story unfolds and the characters grow.
To show the vast differences of the two classes the film focuses on two families, one from each class. In a way they live very similar lives yet they are separated by the one difference of money.
Besides the social classes the film also shows that a life in the arts and education is far more important than a life of living for life and living with crime. Madiba carries his camera (hidden inside a wooden box to conceal it’s real identity) around with him everywhere so when ever a moment arrives he can capture it. With the camera he also captures the heart of a young white girl and an older man who helps him with his video work. The other boy Sipho, doesn’t have that much luck. Like most stories of crime he goes day to day committing crimes to gain acceptance and a little more.
Not only did I like this film because of its social commentary but also because I found it very inspirational to go out there and just shoot life with a camera. When you indulge your life in the arts you can only have a good result. Even if you fail at a piece you are working on you still learn something and it doesn’t land you in jail, addicted to drugs, or dead. When you involve your self in the arts the good people come out and help you. You don’t get used by the drug abusers or lied to by your “friends”.
The Wooden Camera is a film worth seeing, because of its simple yet insightful social commentary of South Africa and it can be quite inspirational for the artist inside you. The driving forces of these two elements are the acting and the life like characters. If you want to feel insightful and inspired to create art and not do drugs then go pick up a copy of The Wooden Camera.