|Subtitles:||The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC|
Less controversial than its title suggests, Hijack Stories is about a car-jack gang in Johannesberg. Sox (Kgoroge) is a classically trained actor with a comfortable lifestyle and a white girlfriend. When he auditions for the part of a gangster, he is rejected because of his lack of street cred. A chance meeting with an old school friend, Zama (Seiphemo) becomes an opportunity to have another crack at the role: Zama is the leader of a car-jack gang, and Sox seizes the chance for some valuable research.
Sox gradually becomes more and more seduced by the sweaty adrenaline lure of crime, and his 'acting' blurs the line between fantasy and reality. In his bid to be accepted, he becomes deeper and deeper ensnared, but at the same time, Zama sees that he can make something out of his seemingly-irredeemable life.
Director Scmitz has put together a film that has a fairly standard plot invested with new life: the crime elements are spontaneous and have nothing of the too-stuffed-with-stunts feeling that so many Hollywood films have. At the same time, Hijack Stories poses challenging questions about the rapidly widening social divide in South Africa and has a sense of gritty realism that most crime films eschew.
The film would be nothing without its actors. Kgoroge and Seiphemo have presences that are reminiscent of the actors in a Mike Leigh film: totally naturalistic, their performances have a special subtlety that rewards careful watching. Al so worth mentioning is Grace (Motshegwa), a hard-bitten Soweto woman, who by turns elicts sympathy and alienates the viewer.
Hijack Stories makes a pleasing change from Hollywood movies while managing to be very watchable. It's not quite art, but it's not drivel either - in short, it's the best kind of film: one that you can enjoy, but one that you'll talk about afterwards.
Screenings of this film:
|2002/2003 Spring Term – (35mm)|