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Spring 2007
April 10, 2007

The Swenkas

Denmark, 2004, 72 min., documentary
Zulu with subtitles
Director: Jeppe Rønde

The Swenkas...a film with rich sonic, visual, and emotional elements.

On a Saturday night in downtown Johannesburg, a group of men dressed to the nines are on their way to participate in a fashion show with an unusual flavour. Left behind are the grimy overalls and the construction site. It’s time to impress the judge of the week and to stand out as an inspiration to others —time to be a swenka. But something has changed; the group leader has passed away. His son, Sabelo, and others are confused and heartsick. Will Sabelo give up swanking? Will the group find a new leader? The film features a fictional elder Zulu narrator observing the swenkas and speaking in a deeply engaging, sonorous voice. He provides a detached, philosophical perspective on events, giving the film a unique narrative and visual rhythm that is more akin to storytelling than documentary.

LINKS

»  The Swenkas. Review in Variety by Leslie Felperin, January 2005.
»  The Swenkas. Film info from The British Federation of Film Societies, includes an entry from the journal of the director, 29/11/2002. Johannesburg.

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