South Africa in the Movies
With its beautiful backdrops, fascinating culture and tumultuous history, it’s no surprise that South Africa has been the setting for several successful movies. The combination of mountains and movie stars is undoubtedly a recipe for success as the popularity of these films has demonstrated.
The most recent film to be made about South Africa, Invictus merges the story of Nelson Mandela’s opening year in office with the progress of the national rugby team in their bid to win the 1995 World Cup. The film documents Mandela’s attempts to use the success of the sports team to unite a country that has suffered from a rift for many years. Directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon this was sure to be a box office hit for 2010. The World Cup final takes place in Cape Town, and during the build up the viewer is privy to some phenomenal shots of Table Mountain and the surrounding landscapes. Nominated for two Oscars and a Golden Globe, this film perfectly encapsulates South Africa’s history and tells the story of one its most famous leaders.
In Blood Diamond, you will see a slightly different side of South Africa and parts of this film are certainly not for the faint hearted. However, it relays an important message about the way in which many of the diamonds worn by westerners have been acquired. The movie is set in a number of locations, depicting small local villages, the city of Cape Town, and the forests and mountains surrounding the city. The lead role really gives Leonardo di Caprio the chance to test out a more rough and ready style of acting, though his South African accent can be questionable at times. Though this film is heart wrenching in some places and somewhat violent in others, it raises awareness about the blood diamonds that are being exported out of the country even now.
Mingling everyday life in South Africa with the arrival of extra terrestrials, this film focuses purely on fantasy. The film tells of the arrival of an enormous space ship over Cape Town, from which an entire race of aliens exit and set up home in slums on the outskirts of the city. In the course of the film, a government agent becomes exposed to the aliens’ biotechnology, and as he begins to slowly evolve into an extra terrestrial being himself, he begins to understand the plight of the aliens and fight their corner. Less of a depiction of South Africa’s history or contemporary life, this film focuses purely on the futuristic sci fi. However, as the camera pans out across the slums, the backdrop of Table Mountain never fails to impress. Nominated for 4 Oscars, District 9 is an interesting take on the South African lifestyle.
Boasting a wealth of interesting history, intriguing culture, and beautiful scenery, South Africa is not only an ideal topic for a film, but it is the perfect location for filming. Many box office bonanzas have been produced either on, or in, this fascinating location, and many more are yet to come.