Dir:John Barker. South Africa. 2006. 90mins.
Ahopeful signal of change in the new South Africa, Bunny Chow is an exuberant hop in the hay, a bonk in the back seatand a flamboyant middle finger to the nation's apartheid past. The title is a referenceto a South African fast-food specialty, a hollowed out loaf of bread filledwith a rich, many flavoured stew, and a metaphor for the racial and culturalsalad of contemporary Johanesburg. A world premiere at the Toronto filmfestival, the film should enjoy strong festival support that should lead tospecialised releasing in major centres.
JohnBarker has the directing credit but this is clearly a collaborative affairbetween him and compatriot stand-up comics David Kibuuka, Salah Sabiti and JoeyRasdien, all of whom share the screenwriting credit. Not there would have beenmuch of a script: Bunny Chow shows to great effect the advantage of havingimprovisational comedians as actors, not to mention talented young actresses astheir foils.
Kibuukaplays David, a middle-class black guy who should be an accountant but haschosen comedy under the misapprehension he is funny. This makes him a bull'seye for Rasdien's Joey, a coloured (in the argot of apartheid) and KagisoLediga's Kags, experts of the trade who mercilessly skewer his ambitions andoffer useful if unwanted advice in smartly-observed comic exchanges. In anutshell: how to get laid and keep getting laid without getting stuck. Joey hasone technique with his Asian girlfriend Angela (Chow): buy her things. Kags'technique is charm, and his white girlfriend Kim (Engelbrecht) keeps lettinghim back in. David is hapless, perhaps because he keeps trying to make girlslaugh.
Shot ina black-and-white in an intelligently kinetic style, the camerawork is equallyimprovisational. Whether or not Barker is making a political statement, byshooting in black and white, it heightens the contrast of inter-racialrelationships.
Thethree pals travel to the Oppikoppi music festival planning to perform on a secondstage devoted to comic acts but their various plans are thrown askew by theiridiosyncracies. Joey is a casually observant Muslim - he doesn't drink but helikes dope, so much so that he spends the entire weekend in a spectral haze ofimagined funerals. Kags never gets on stage: Kim makes a surprise appearancejust when he's swooping on another girl. As for David, he finally finds a girl,a white Jew, who is more interested in him than his funny bone.
Dog Pack Films
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