Thursday, August 23, 2007

Heart of Darkness

My mother watched The Last King of Scotland over the last couple days, and I half watched it, mostly because I'm sleeping on the couch and I don't have my own room, so I'm kind of out there by default, and I have a hard time ignoring the television. However, I was only half watching because it was hard for me to be interested in the story of a white man's journey into the heart of black darkness, oops, I mean Africa.

There have been lots of movies about the white man and the (not-so) noble savage, and what he learns from them. So I'm not really going to get into the racial politics. It's all pretty clear. And there's nothing that I can say that hasn't been said already. However, I'm interested in how the countries in Africa, and I like how they're all sort of lumped into "Africa" with the possible exception of South Africa which we all know has some white people and Nelson Mandela, with no distinction between countries or even regions.

I swear to God, there's some part where the captions read "Speaking in African." African?! I'd love to see the movie where someone is seen speaking "European" and I'd dearly love to know what that would sound like.

Frothing at the mouth aside, I was primarily struck with even in our supposedly post-colonialist age, we have a movie which seems so unabashedly to ape Heart of Darkness. Interestingly, the time period, although not contemporary, depicts Uganda in the post colonial age, struggling with its national identity. Not that we get a lot of focus on that from the film.

Africa, it seems, remains the go-to continent for films about savagery.

No comments: