for Cinetalk.net

(seen at Fantasia 2018 – already Out in some territories).

Becoming outlaws during Apartheid, because of a violent uprising against authorities, eventually turning against their own people, five men go separate ways.  After 20 years one of them, Tau, comes back in this town called Marseilles. As he wants no parts in fighting anymore, what seems like a distant past haunts him as much as his come back is haunting Marseilles inhabitants like a Ghost.

Director Michael Matthews and screenwriter Sean Drummond saw in  present-day South African rural landscape and history an ideal backgroud to a contemporary African Western. Their film, Five Fingers For Marseilles, features an almost all-black cast boosting some fine performances and headed by local stars Vuvo Dabula and Zethu Dlomo.

Set in a post-Apartheid world, still bearing unhealed wounds, Five Fingers premises is based on characters stuck into an helpless fight (at least from their view point) for an upgraded world. The overall ambiance, though its build up is deliberately slower, borrows from directors Sergio Garrone (Django Il Bastardo, 1969) Walter Hill (Last Man Standing),  Clint Eastwood (High Plains Drifter, 1973) or even George Miller (the Mad Max series), with their like-Ghost characters.  The under-developed, but contemporary, settings make plausible and easy switch in time. And the set-up for a showdown, patiently crafted, with cinematographer Shaun Lee’s inspiring color palette and framing, brings in some of the inevitable needs for the genre as well as some fine work from editing departments, images and sound.

Though, with a land still suffering so much, using the war between tribes could still be interpreted as harsh (or touchy) as a premise in a (partly) ‘exploitative’ genre film , Five Fingers For Marseilles is a very interesting take of world Cinema.

 

 

 

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