Critically Explore Mapantsula (the Hustler) in the Context of the Gangster Genre (Film Noire) in South Africa. Essay
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In the 1950’s, America’s Hollywood had an enormous impact on the South African cultcher, the gangster genre was practically influential on the young South African males in Sophiatown. It was here where gangs not only attempted to imitate the actions, dress, general attitude and life style of what they sore on the screen but also named there gangs after different groups represented there, i.e. the Americans or The Russians. They thought by copying trends they could gain self-respect and this would gain them a symbolic space in the community. This imitating of American ideologue didn’t stay with the gangster films, latter in the 1970’s films such as ‘Saturday Night Fever’ brought a love of disco dancing while ‘Esquire’ brought about drugs and fashion.
Much inspiration for Mapantsula came from writers Oliver Schmitz and Thomas Mogatlane (also played panic) passed. Mogatlane himself being both an activist and a detainee, whist Schmitz being white brought a different set of experiences to the film. This mix of class and race in the production team, which was continued through the white editor and lighting cameraman and black actors, sat Mapantsula in a movement working towards a democratic future, which called on all South Africans despite there class or racial categories. In order to get Mapantsula subsidized, the film was registered with the Directorate of Publications (the censor board) as a non political gangster film, with a main theme of ‘crime does not pay’.
Through out this essay I am going to be looking at the above film, Mapantsula and how it fits into the gangster (film noire) genre. With persific look at, areas such as are gangsters victims of a hostile world, its unusual narrative and the role of the female in the film.
Film noire is a sub-genre of the 1930’s gangster films, such as Scar face (1932). Its characterization and tone differ form the