The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
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All Critics (12)
| Top Critics (8)
| Fresh (12)
| Rotten (0)
| DVD (2)
"Come Back, Africa" is most effective as an ethnographic documentary, with cinema verite images of white privilege and black poverty.
While the sights and the sounds aren't enough to constitute a great movie in and of themselves, they do result in a fascinating document.
Come Back, Africa is a work of amazing grace-and a forgotten treasure.
Rogosin was showing a vital culture on the brink, at the moment when it was calcifying into the form it would hold for more than three decades to come.
Come Back, Africa is a timely and remarkable piece of cinema journalism: a matter-of-fact, horrifying study of life in the black depths of South African society.
What it lacks in dramatic structure, it makes up in pictorial urgency.
(The film)succeeds simultaneously as activism, as drama, and as a time capsule. It feels like the delicate spell would be broken if a single variable was altered.
A perfect marriage between art and radical politics.
Miriam Makeba's sensual song performances gives the film a level of vibrancy and passionate energy.
A solid, affecting artifact of the cruelty of late 1950s South Africa, in which music often makes despair and long-suppressed anger bearable.
Its power comes from the location filming of the township.
Early activist filmmaker Lionel Rogosin was able to film this powerful 1960 apartheid drama on location in South Africa by telling the authorities he was making a musical.
"Come Back, Africa" is something of a historical curio. Filmed in secret in Apartheid-era South Africa in 1959, the film follows Zachariah(Zacharia Mgabi), fresh from Zululand, who is looking for work. First, he ends up at a gold mine where he has no experience but receives brief training before being sent into the mines. His intent is to work in Johannesburg where he can establish a home for his family. To such ends, he asks for help from his supervisor but his first job in the city as an in-house servant ends badly.
All of that may be news to those watching in 1959, especially with its references to the African National Congress, and other South African political discussions of the day in response to restrictions on the African population. But to those of us watching in 2012 after the huge amount that has already been written on the subject, there is nothing new here in the movie's episodic structure with its reliance on non-professional actors with occasional musical interludes. Plus, the ending is more than a little sudden.
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