The Namibian film industry is a busy one, often occupied with producing nature documentaries for the likes of National Geographic and Blue Planet, German TV films, NGO information films on subjects like education and HIV, and commercials. In recent years, however, there has been an upsurge of short films by Namibian filmmakers due in part to increased funding by the Namibian Film Commission. On Thursday December 12 in London, AfricaAvenir and Friends of Namibia screened four of these films. Because they are difficult to access, those of us who couldn’t be there have only got the trailers. Here is the trailer takedown of the films that were shown, plus a new short film in full.
My Beautiful Nightmare
The summary gives us this scant information: “A young woman bruised by the city, dreams of escape and the freedom of her childhood.” The trailer certainly gives us some snapshots that manage to convey a sense of urban delirium. The nightmare comes across, though it’s less clear where the beautiful comes in. Perhaps in the film’s sound, which in the trailer is striking.
This is the only film on the roster set during Namibia’s past and appears to do so through the forbidden relationship (initially friendship; possibly romantic later on) between a white girl and black boy. It also looks to be the only one set on a farm rather than in a city. There is a lot of silence around Namibia’s apartheid history, and it is not often common knowledge that Namibia was ever under South Africa’s apartheid rule. While I doubt it’s a subtle story, there is a lot of potential for a film which takes common themes, like forbidden love and family loyalties, into new contexts.
Money, sex, violence. If that didn’t push it home, the music should tell you this looks to be chock-full of drama. Add in some universal themes of “love, friendship, family, loyalty, revenge and the serendipity of life” (as the summary tells it) on top of the ensemble cast and I’m guessing we’ve got a narrative that covers a lot of stylized ground about Windhoek life.
Seeing ‘100 Bucks’ and ‘Try’ side by side would be interesting, as they seem to have a lot in common, weaving together the stories of multiple disparate characters in Windhoek. The ‘100 Bucks’ trailer has a lot of indoor shots and might take us away from the streetscapes that dominate the ‘Try’ trailer. More than anything, this trailer is seductive like a prototypical first date: low lighting, music crooning, lots of meaningful looks and not too much talking. I like it.
For those of us that missed these films, here’s ‘Everything Happens for a Reason’, found entirely on YouTube. This 14-minute Namibian short film was done as one long take. According to the director, they had one day to shoot and finally got it right as the sun was going down, giving it particular lighting to great effect. It also features really good opening lines: