3 Jul 2012

Bang bang and employment

Well what a week.

As of yesterday I have begun working for one of Herman Melville's fictional creations, and tonight I discovered that my Facebook page had changed my employment from government to a highly dodgy pyramid make up company. I had to fix my Facebook privacy settings, cook tea and write this blog, while sober!

Yes despite the title of my blog I am currently on a sabbatical from the temptations of Bacchus. Well for another four weeks at least and then Bacchus better strap in.

So when I next run to check on my Apricot chicken I will grab a ginger beer.

ANYWAY lets have a DVD review.

The Bang Bang Club

Greg Marinovich, Kevin Carter, Ken Oosterbroek, and João Silva, were four young photographers based in apartheid South Africa of the early 1990s.  Their photographs during this period were seen on the covers on newspapers and magazines around the world, but were not always published at home. The Bang Bang Club is the film based on a book written by the two surviving members of the Bang Bang Club, João Silva and Greg Marinovich who were also involved in the film.

The film covers the lives of the men and their struggles with their work photographing the violence between 1990-1994 and how that violence affected their private lives. Most of the story is told from Marinovich's perspective in the group and the events that unfolded from when he first met the others, until the death of Kevin Carter and Ken Oosterbroek.
The Pulitzer prize winning photograph by Greg Marinovich of the murder of a man in Soweto
The film stars Ryan Phillippe as Greg Marinovich, Taylor Kitsch as Kevin Carter, Frank Rautenbach as Ken Oosterbroek, Neels Van Jaarsveld as João Silva, and Malin Akerman as Robin Comley the newspaper  picture editor who was their friend, protector, and the lover of Marinovich. Greg Marinovich and João Silva were on location in South Africa assisting with the actors to coach them as to what it was like to be a photographer in a combat zone, and if the special features are anything to go by they also directed the cast and crew as well. I believe their involvement really added to the credibility of the actors performance.

All five actors gave a good performances in their respective roles. Phillipe and Kitsch especially showing the depth of their talent is considerably more then their looks. Phillippe as Marinovich with his drive to reveal the truth behind the violence jading him to the humanity of his subjects. And Kitsch as Kevin Carter a man with a passion to expose the reality of  apartheid but that exposure slowly eroding his soul.

The film examines the very nature of their work as journalists. Is there a social responsibility behind their occupation or are they just there to make money? At what point do they stop being observers and involve themselves in the events they are capturing, or is their role as photographers, exposing those events to the world involvement in itself? Clearly their work photographing the violence between 1990-1994  between the African National Congress (ANC )and the Inkatha Freedom party (IFP) and the suspected police involvement behind that violence did affect them. 
The pulitzer prize winning photograph by Kevin Carter of a child in Sudan
 The photograph above was taken by Kevin Carter when he and Silva travelled to the Sudan to photograph the rebels. Carter won the pulitzer prize for the photograph in 1994. Carter gained a great deal of recognition for the photograph but also a great deal of criticism for not knowing the fate of the child. It brought the whole profession into question, and these questions are still being asked today. While I looking for the photographs for this post I found a Nigerian blog which was still criticising Carter for not helping the little girl.

 I am not going to defend or vilify the role of the combat photographer, or any photojournalist in this post. But if the subject interests you then I think you will enjoy this movie.

I do not think the film glamorises the men, but instead tries to humanise them. it's not trying to tell the story of the end of apartheid, Nelson Mandela or F.W de Klerk but of these four men, and their real friendship.
I enjoyed the film. I enjoyed the performances, the story and the imagery, such that it is. I think that this is one of the most enjoyable DVDs I have seen this year.

7 monkeys from me.

oh and as a post script I note that the real João Silva lost his legs taking photographs in Afghanistan after the release on this film in 2010.

Ok well the gods have just sent an earthquake to remind me I have work in the morning so I will post this now before something else happens.


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