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Theodore Smith
Theodore Smith

The Gods Must Be Crazy

The Gods Must Be Crazy is a 1980 comedy film written, produced, edited and directed by Jamie Uys. An international co-production of South Africa and Botswana, it is the first film in The Gods Must Be Crazy series. Set in Southern Africa, the film stars Namibian San farmer Nǃxau ǂToma as Xi, a hunter-gatherer of the Kalahari Desert whose tribe discovers a glass Coca-Cola bottle dropped from an airplane, and believe it to be a gift from their gods. When Xi sets out to return the bottle to the gods, his journey becomes intertwined with that of a biologist (Marius Weyers), a newly hired village school teacher (Sandra Prinsloo), and a band of guerrilla terrorists.

The Gods Must Be Crazy

Xi and his San tribe[a] live happily in the Kalahari Desert, away from industrial civilization. One day, a glass Coca-Cola bottle is thrown out of an airplane by a pilot and falls to the ground unbroken. Initially, Xi's people assume the bottle to be a gift from their gods, just as they believe plants and animals are, and find many uses for it. Unlike other gifts, however, there is only one glass bottle, which causes unforeseen conflict within the tribe. As a result, Xi, wearing only a loincloth, decides to make a pilgrimage to the edge of the world and dispose of the divisive object.

Both New York Times critic Vincent Canby and author Josef Gugler called the film "patronizing" towards the San people.[28][8] Canby wrote that the San in the film "are seen to be frightfully quaint if not downright cute", and compared the film's narrator's statement that the San "must be the most contented people in the world" to "exactly the sort of thing that Mussolini might have said when he got those trains running on time".[28] Gugler considered both the film's narrator and the character of Mpudi condescending, writing that "even if Mpudi feels for the San people, he is just as patronizing as the narrator: 'They are the sweetest little buggers'".[8] In response to accusations of patronization, Uys said that "I don't think the film is patronizing. When the Bushman is with us in the city, I do patronize him, because he's stupid. But in the desert, he patronizes me, because I'm stupid and he's brilliant".[3]

The film begins in the Kalahari Desert. A pilotin a private plane throws his empty Coke bottle out of the window. It landsnear a Bushman who is on a hunting expedition. He has never seen anything likeit before. He takes it back to his tribe, where it is put to dozens of uses: Itbecomes a musical instrument, a patternmaker, a fire starter, a cookingutensil, and, most of all, an object of bitter controversy. Everybody in thetribe ends up fighting over the bottle, and so the Bushman, played by the Xhosaactor N!xau (the exclamation point represents a click), decides there is onlyone thing to do: He must return the bottle to the gods. This decision sends himon a long odyssey toward more settled lands on the edges of the desert, wherethe movie develops into a somewhat more conventional comedy.

The star of the movie is N!xau, who is soforthright and cheerful and sensible that his very presence makes some of thegags pay off. In any slapstick comedy, the gags must rest on a solid basis oflogic: It's not funny to watch people being ridiculous, but it is funny towatch people doing the next logical thing, and turning out to be ridiculous.N!xau, because he approaches Western society without preconceptions, and basesall of his actions on logical conclusions, brings into relief a lot of thelittle tics and assumptions of everyday life. I think that reveals the thoughtthat went into this movie: It might be easy to make a farce about screwballhappenings in the desert, but it's a lot harder to create a funny interactionbetween nature and human nature. This movie's a nice little treasure.

A pilot absentmindedly drops an empty Coke bottle into the middle of the Kalahari desert, where it's retrieved by a primitive and isolated tribe of bushmen. They've never seen anything like it, and quickly find many helpful uses for this unusual object. But soon, they're fighting over it and one of them decides, for the good of the tribe, that he must take it to the edge of the world (otherwise known as civilization) and get rid of it. He's soon embroiled in a madcap adventure that includes a bumbling anthropologist (Marius Weyers), a new schoolteacher (Sandra Prinsloo), and an attempted coup perpetrated by a dangerous revolutionary.

When a tribe of African bushman find a piece of litter thrown from a plane, they assume it must be a gift from the Gods. That is until the soda-pop bottle starts to cause all kinds of trouble within their social order. But when Xixo (N!xau) decides to return the offering (by throwing it off the end of the Earth), he runs into even more problems -- in the form of civilized man.

The Gods Must Be Crazy, a 1984 comedy from South African, was written, directed, and produced by Jamie Uys. Xixo (Nixau), the leader of a primitive and nomadic bush tribe in the Kalahari desert, watches the orderly ways of his people disappear when a magical object — an empty soft drink bottle — brings chaos, jealousy, and violence into their midst. Walking to what he thinks is "the edge of the earth" to return the evil thing to the gods, the bushman encounters civilization. Very funny elements surface in the love affair between a bumbling microbiologist and a big city schoolteacher and in the confusions brought to the area by an inept guerilla leader and his silly band of revolutionaries.

Following the worldwide success of this comedy, Uys created a sequel released in 1990 with some of the same themes. Xixo must search for his two small children after they hop aboard a truck belonging to ivory poachers. He encounters two couples lost in the desert and two soldiers, a Cuban and an African, who have gotten separated from their units in Angola. Both films depict the humorous cultural differences between tribal individuals and people from modern societies. Anyone who likes slapstick will not be disappointed by either film.

The San tribe has everything they need and the gods are fair to them until the Coca-Cola bottle threatens this unity (Uys, scene 18, 1980). The journey to return the Coca-Cola bottle ends up with a long search for two sons who boarded a water track belonging to poachers. Xi displays his survival skills to the modernized parties and the film ends with a happy reunion between father and his two sons.

The cultural patterns in the San tribe directly affect their communication. Being a relatively primitive society, they seem to worship the sky and believe that the jet lanes in the sky are roads made by the gods who were very kind to drop for them a Coca-Cola bottle.

This symbolizes the blessings and protection from the gods and must be celebrated. In addition, the San clan believed that they are the only human being on that world and Xi reacts very strangely and assumes that the people he met outside the San clan are actually gods who seemed comparatively huge and had road vehicles. 041b061a72

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