Film / TVRace

this badass south african “neo-western” film reclaims the genre

August 29, 2017
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When you think of westerns, names like John Wayne, Clint Eastwood and Gary Cooper probably come to mind. But these pioneers of the western genre all have one thing in common: they are white white white.

Historically, the genre has been a product of the imagination of white people, with colonialist underpinnings informing ideas of conquering new and wild frontiers. South African filmmakers Michael Matthews and Sean Drummond are hoping to change that with Five Fingers for Marseilles, a new “neo-western” they directed that will premiere at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

“The great westerns always contained socio-political threads,” Drummond told Screen Africa. “And Five Fingers’ loose allegory on today’s South Africa is edge-of-the-seat [entertaining] and starkly human.”

Filmed primarily in Sesotho, Five Fingers for Marseilles “tells the story of how, 20 years ago, the young ‘Five Fingers’ fought for the rural town of Marseilles, against brutal police oppression,” according to a synopsis. “Now, after fleeing in disgrace, Tau returns, seeking peace. Finding the town under new threat, he must reluctantly fight to free it. Will the Five Fingers stand again?”

Check out the action-packed teaser trailer for the film below!