Monday, October 30, 2006

Catch A Fire

"Catch a wind, catch a rainbow, catch a fire
Catch a fire, catch a fire
Catch a wind, catch a rainbow, catch a fire
Catch a wind, catch a rainbow, catch a fire
Catch a fire"
--- Bob Marley, Catch a Fire

I eagerly anticipated Catch a Fire, the fact-based story of South Afrikan, Patrick Chamusso who was politicized by his own experiences with the brutal white supremacist regime during the apartheid era. I had seen the previews and hoped that the film was not just another white-washed "apartheid light" portrayal of the most brutal system of white supremacy visited upon Afrikans.

I'm always nervous whenever there is a film about any aspect of Black suffering since the depictions invariably show the iconic "white savior" of Afrikans, e.g., Mississippi Burning, the forgiving Afrikan sufferer, e.g., The Green Mile and a "soft approach" to what actually happened in the lives of Afrikans in the film.

Unfortunately, Catch a Fire included all of the above and threw in other hackneyed themes for good measure. Even though stories such as these are loosely based on fact, they rarely show how absolutely brutal the oppression of Afrikans was. The "PG-13" rating was my first suspicion that I would be going down this road, yet again. It's like making a "G" rated film about the Holocaust or having a film entitled "Auschwitz, the Musical". It won't happen, and when you think about it, there have been very few films, if any that shows the murderous brutality of whites perpetrated on Afrikans. Enslavement, Reconstruction, Apartheid all get a "light" treatment by Hollywood. I believe the reason for this is because the primary concern of the producers is to make white people feel good when they leave the theater. Thus Joe Slovo, one of the most outspoken critics and organizers against the S. Afrikan regime is depicted prominently in the film, most likely because his daughter was one of the producers.

Why pick this story? Because it shows that all whites aren't bad, Afrikans are forgiving and there's "racial hope" for all of us. It's "Racism Lite" if you please, with little attention to an on-screen portrayal of how monstrous whites were toward Afrikans.

I'll spare you the ending, but "Catch a Fire" ignited very little in understanding how white supremacy operated and still operates in the lives of Afrikans.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:42 AM

    I was disappointed in the movie too, though I still cried. You should send this critique to the movie's producers.