Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Swenkas

Director: Jeppe Ronde
Starring: Some Swenkas!

This is a documentary about Swenkas. Swenkas are South African guys who dress up all snappy-like (or swanky, shall we say) and have swanking competitions, where they show off their outfits in a semi-choreographed/model-y way. It's strange and I've never heard of it before, so I was a little distracted throughout the documentary, trying to figure out exactly what this whole Swenka thing is about. I think I'll Wikipedia it when I'm done here.

Anyway, the movie isn't so much about swanking as it is about a young man who has lost his father, who was the leader of the Swenkas. Now, in the midst of grief, the young man has to decide whether he wants to continue his father's legacy and continue swanking, or disappear completely.

It wasn't like any documentary you've seen before. It was performative, mixing seemingly scripted elements with non-fiction. There's an elderly narrator-y guy who begins and ends the story with a script. The cinematography is beautiful. It's hard to accept a film that straddles the line of fiction and non-fiction. It's easy to disregard reality when watching fiction films, and sort of easy to assume truth in non-fiction films, but somewhere between the two, it is difficult to figure out how to comprehend the information and meaning.


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