Sunday, July 3, 2011

It's Apart Hate

I put off seeing the movie Invictus until a couple of days ago for a number of reasons, all valid, and really I shouldn't have given in and seen it because it just irks me, as I knew it would.

Although I grew up in South Africa, I'm as interested in rugby as I am in baseball or curling or lacrosse, which is to say, not at all. Blind patriotism has never seemed natural, sensible or desirable wherever I've lived, and since I haven't set foot on the African continent since 1989, anything going on there is largely only of academic interest. Plus: rugby. Don't care.

Every time I see a movie about South Africans not made by South Africans, everything they get wrong annoys the crap out of me and this was no exception.

The people in the movie in South Africa who are purportedly South African at the very least should pronounce the word "apartheid" correctly.

Say after me:



That's the way it's said. When speaking in English, by English-speakers. If people in the US get in a snit because someone with no Spanish mispronounces the word "tortilla", then they should learn how to pronounce the pivotal word "apartheid".

Couldn't they have found an accent coach for Morgan Freeman? Really not? Because he was awful every time he opened his mouth.

Just because English is not Mandelea's native tongue, doesn't mean that he has to pause between each word. The man is literate and articulate and far more fluent than Mr Freeman would have us think. There were a couple of real black South Africans in the movie who spoke at normal speed albeit with their usual accent and cadence, which is quite distinctive. (Actually, it's pretty similar to quite a few other African accents that I've heard, but to no non-African accents I've heard). If Mr Freeman had paid attention, his accent would have been improved a thousand-fold.

The woman who played his assistant, apart from her awful accent (it was she I noticed mispronouncing "apartheid"), was obviously not for a second even before she opened her mouth, South African. Just because she has a darker-than-white skin doesn't make her any of the ethnicities in Southern Africa, and certainly not one with the family name Mazibuko. She's very beautiful, but her looks scream "NOT FROM HERE!"

A small detail in the Pienaar household. Yes, the maid would have done the ironing, but she would never no how no ways ever have done it in the living room.

There would be a room somewhere near the kitchen, or perhaps (as in my family home) there would have been a room between the kitchen and the back door, that also contained the washing machine, freezer, brooms, vacuum cleaner and other cleaning equipment, where she would have been doing the ironing. I realize that the maid had to have a presence in the movie so that Francois could give her a ticket, but any work that she did would have been while the family were not in the room. Most likely, they would have interacted with her in the kitchen.

Clint, I'm disappointed.

Personal enlightenment and the growth of empathy and understanding always make a good story, and I loved the Cape Town nostalgia shots: the mountain, the lighthouse, the aerial shots, and the rugby looked authentic to me: lots of grunting and mud, but they say the devil is in the details, and so many of the details were so flat-out wrong that it (as expected) completely ruined this movie for me.

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