SXSW Film Review: Ghostland

Members of an African tribe travel to the West

“What a crazy world this is.” It predictably becomes a common refrain, said at almost every turn by the traveling Ju/'Hoansi Bushmen of Namibia – four of whom make the fantastic voyage into Europe, away from “the bush.”

Unsurprisingly, Western trappings, the noise, and a perceived misunderstanding the white man maintains concerning relative free will, all beguile and perplex the foursome. Conversely, they become keenly aware of what the new reality is for them, if even becoming specified in the course. To survive as a people, they understand they must break out the practiced choreography, do the same old song and dance for white tourists. Director Simon Stadler tries his best at boxing in a naturally exploitative circumstance, into something balanced. However, he doesn’t help himself at the conclusion, where the returning Bushmen and women aren’t afforded any deep reflection of their travels, on film. Perhaps that’s a part of the message – that the Bushmen’s 25,000-year-old age of intrasocietal agency has long ceased, their futures fallen into hands that are not their own.


Sunday, March 13, 11:30am, Alamo South Lamar
Wednesday, March 16, 1:45pm, Alamo Ritz

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SXSW 2016, SXSW Film 2016, Ghostland

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