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The Gods Must Be Crazy

  • Academic-level:
  • Discipline:
    English 101
  • Type of paper:
    Movie review

Movie Review "The Gods Must Be Crazy"

“The Gods Must Be Crazy” movie might seem to be a typical comedy filled with slapstick humor as well as overtly-prolonged sequences featuring gags. At the same time, there is no denying the fact that, the movie has cult status and widely considered as an epic comedy of absurd character. Directed by Jamie Uys in 1980, the movie involves the two contrasting sides of the matter including the» Bushmen” residing in the Kalahari desert as well as the urban people who come from the post-colonial Africa. Basically, the movie represents an allegory for the influence of the technology on the society, and emphasizes both pros and cons of urbanization-targeted processes. 

The movie opens with presentation of the major differences between the primitive culture of the Bushmen and the contemporary technology-based culture of the urbanites. The desert of Kalahari appears to be a foreboding place, the movie also manifests that little people who refer to it as home lead ordinary lives and do not violate the law as well as avoid violence in their lives. Such a peaceful presentation of the quiet life is interrupted with the arrival of the Coca-Cola bottle, which introduces us to the world of urban life and technology.


The arrival of this object that is definitely something new for the eyes of the natives appears to bring nothing but conflict to the small tribe residing in this region, which in turn brings about jealousy, coveting as well as strife to the tribe that used to be a rather peaceful community of people. A leader of the community called Xi was the first to discover the object. He then embarks on the long journey needed to take the bottle away and thus eliminate the problems it has caused to the community.

As the leading protagonist of the movie, Xi is taken into the particular cast of characters each of whom represents a particular cultural background and its attitude to technologies that is associated with the modernism. Kate Thompson is introduced to the settlement to perform the activities of a teacher. Andrew Steyn appears to be a biologist who applies technology in order to explore the peculiarities of the species of the Botswana elephant. Sam Boga as the latin revolutionary represents demonization of the concept of communism. And, Jack Hind who is portrayed as a capitalist proves to be apt towards technologies. He drives his tour bus across the savanna in a relaxed fashion. The last character is considered to an antagonist of the movies.

In terms of sociological point of view, the movie casts light on the values of the technological advances which in turn indicates modernism in its purest form. At the point when Xi faces the concept of Western modernisms, he views it with not preconception of the idea the technology has. Due to a lack of water within the community like that, the bottle of Coke raises a number of issues, the most important one is what actually this bottle might mean for the members of the community. The naivety of the protagonist indicates the cost of the technology for the society in general. The movies also raises the question of the price of technology as it influences the lives and attitudes of a great number of people. Thus, the movie features scientists who are stranded in those rivers that one without any technological background can easily wade. At the same time the clothing is interfered by trees only because of the fact that the concept of decency turns down the appropriacy of the use of temperature-adjusted clothes. Thus there arise two major questions regarding the technological advances, namely what the price of technology is as well as whether the advantages brought about by technologies are more important than the costs.

An essential message of the whole movie appears to be a particular narrative in respect to the cultural value of possession. Here, it is necessary to indicate that the tribe of the protagonists resides in the desert, which is an area with a scarce number of resources. Nevertheless, these people do not pity about the a lack of vital resources, instead they are grateful to gods for everything they have. There is not such a thing as good or bad for the members of the community. The things are just as they are. There is no one to be held in an advantageous position as all the members are treated equally.

As the matter of fact, that Coca-cola bottle was a start of turmoil for the society that was not familiar with any object regarding the present-day society. People of the tribe were not accustomed to showing any sign of anger, greed and aggression. Basically, things like that are the attributes of the society where its members need to own objects. The thing is that the society that supports the idea of possession can never achieve the level of satisfaction with life because the point of ownership is that one aspiring to it will always be willing to acquire more advantageous position over other individual within the society. Therefore, Power appears to be ingrained in the nature of possession.

Another important idea across the movie is the admonition to those people who cherish the advantages brought about by technologies. At the same time, unequal distribution of technology is also the point in the movie. In the context of the film, there can be noticed the concentrations of material technological resources both with good and negative outcomes.

Due to their familiarity with the material technologies, a number of characters appear to be in more advantageous positions in terms of authority over other people. Nonetheless, there are no facts that acknowledge the negative influence of the technologies on the society. There are characters who understand the actins of Xi. Taking into consideration that any culture where the concept of possession is highly appreciated, there are ways to accumulate this possession. Consequently, technologies are actively concentrated into more limited communities of people. Material resources are applied both by Sam Boga and Jack Hind who take advantage of them in order to prove power over others, which in turn involve violence and shame.

In respect to that, the film can be viewed in a more important way. As a matter of fact, the movie was created in 1980, which was definitely the most noticeable decade of apartheid. Even though, it is easier to assess the actions of the past day by means of the present-day analogs, it is necessary to pint out that all those actions represent the nature of any particular time.

Rather than that, if we consider the movie from the present-day perspective, that proves to offer another interesting set of ideas in respect to the initial message. In particular, the period of time described in the movie is the vivid depiction of disturbed moments in the world history including the problem arising in the background of the post-colonial African nationalism, the peak period of the Cold War as well as the disastrous condition of the Western Industry.

Primarily, the aspirations of the white population of the South Africa in the 1980s can be viewed as that of genocidal nature. The opening scene of the movie was the narrative which appears to be abundant in ethnically and racially driven patronism.

Those non-civilized bushmen are Saan people who were driven to the northern extent due to the European colonial interference. This Saan people are described in the movie as those who do not use any type of modern clothing or any amenities they had for the purpose of resembling the native population. However, the film production actually failed to deliver the appropriate image of the Xhosa tongue. Thus, the sound we can hear turns out to be more exotic, rather than actually Xhosa language.

In addition, it is necessary to point out that the film can be viewed in the course of the interpretation of the communistic ideas. Thus, the character who is based off the image of Che Guevara is called Boca. He is seen as the antagonist of the film. As a matter of fact, the concepts of Communism can be considered as the dominating messages in the movies. The movie was made when the Cold War was at its height, where South Africa was overwhelmed by the influences provoked by apartheid. Even though the desire for mutual wealth as well as equal community experienced by the main protagonist are similar to ideals sought after by the communists, it is necessary to mention that apartheid-led submission is missed along the movie under consideration.

All things considered the movie provides a vivid illustration that emphasizes the difference between the culture of the natives and that of the modern urbanites. This purpose is achieved by means of interactions involving socialized members of each of the parties concerned. In addition, the contrasts are also apparent via the action of the characters in the movies alongside with their value and contrasting worldviews. In the course of the movie we witness the contrasting points as well as the belief that any particular ethnic group is superior to others, as that is seen by each and every character.

The culture followed within the Bushmen community can be characterized as rather simple and content, whereas the life pace in the Bushmen culture is fairly slow and relaxed. There are no social classes within the Bushmen culture. In terms of child raising practices, it is necessary to point out to the fact that bushmen never act rudely in respect to their children, but their children’s behavior at the same time is rather calm and polite. Their original belief is that the most important thing in life is god and relationship. Everything in the world, both humans and non-human beings are highly appreciated by the bushmen. It is noticeable in the movie how they hunt, specifically they shoot an animal with a tranquilizer and only then they wait until the animal would go to sleep. After that they can only kill it. Interestingly enough, they also apologize for killing an animal, as their only motivation is to do that for the sake of their family as to make sure they have enough to eat (Regarding Race, Nation, and Our Future).

Despite the fact that the Bushmen lived under squalor circumstances, this did not prevent them from being happy and satisfied with their level of living. Another vital characteristic of the community of Bushmen was a lack of conflict among it members. In addition, they did not have any concept of the private property, which meant that they eagerly shared their belonging with another. However, the turning point for a peaceful life was when they came across a so-called gift from god, seen as the bottle of Coke. This object was considered to be used for many situations including those when they needed features of a toy, tool as well as a music-maker.

In the course of his journey, the protagonists face the outcome of the civilization that actually prove to be a concern for him. He happens to be unable to understand why he was arrested and put into jail for murdering a goat because as compared to his native tribe there is not a such thing as private property. Later on his was rescued by Andrew Steyn, a microbiologist who is rather a talented scientist, though he becomes rather clumsy every time he confronts the woman he loves, who actually the only female in the territory. She is named Kate Thompson who escaped from the madness of the outer present-day world in to be a teacher at the Christianity mission located in Kalahari.

As a matter of fact, there is a subplot ingrained into the overall plot of the movie, which involves a minor group of revolution activities who are led by Sam Boga. He can be characterized as one of the supporters of Marxist’s ideas. He and his group of followers did not manage to coup in a black-ruled country in the neighboring area.

The depiction of the communists in the movies allows viewers to see the film as extraordinary slapstick comedy as the plot in the movie is based off the story involving humor and love. Communist guerillas represented are the reference to the difficulties experienced by the South African government in Namibia. At the same time, the depiction of the communists in the movie serves as the reference to Cuba as the source of revolution, which in turn suggests that even African governments can be subjected to communism.

The portrayal of rebels proves to be incompetent and at the same time dangerous in the context of the South African government’s activities. This it is particularly essential in respect to the rigid control over South Africa and Namibia. Taking into account that black population was greater in number of the large majority, white population of South Africa in turn was afraid of the majority rule.

All things considered, the movie under consideration provides and interesting example of work of art, as there are numerous themes and messages being bound together. Even though it is the comedy by nature, the film is an excellent illustration of the major aspects of the human beings’ behavior within its historical context. Thus, by looking into the movies, it is possible to deduce that the major characters were representatives of different worldviews and in case with some of even particular ideologies. Their deeds and ideas serve as the insights into the human soul as they portray various aspects of human society from different angles.

Apart from that, the movie efficiently represents the collision of two worlds, specifically that of the bushmen society which is full of kindness, mutual respect as well as it also possesses a tinge of naivety alongside with the world represented by the urban world that is drastically different from the former one. With this in mind, creators of the film contrast and compare the different worldviews between them and allow viewers to understand the messages ingrained in the context.


Work cited

Regarding Race, Nation, and Our Future,. "Film Analysis -- The Gods Must Be Crazy". N.p., 2014. Web. 9 Feb. 2016.


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