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The Gods Must Be Crazy: TAP’s Movie of the Month for March 2015

March 1, 2015

gods_must_be_crazyThe 1980s were a fun decade for movies.  Comedies were entirely different than they were today.  Most modern funny films are loaded with lewd content that make them far less than family friendly, but the 80s were packed with funny family movies that made movie night fun.  Ferris Bueller, Ghostbusters, Big, Beetlejuice, The Blues Brothers, Vacation, Back to the Future, Bill and Ted, Roger Rabbit, Uncle Buck, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, A Christmas Story, Teen Wolf, and the list could go on.

One of my favorites, however, is an overlooked classic, one that not even my friends that grew up in the 80s remember – The Gods Must Be Crazy.  Released in 1980, The Gods Must Be Crazy is still the most successful movie in the history of the South African film industry, breaking records in both South Africa and Japan, and becoming the highest grossing foreign film ever in the United States (that record has since been broken).  It’s a slapstick comedy that relies on physical gags that are exaggerated one step beyond common sense, and reminds you of The Three Stooges, Charlie Chaplin, Tom and Jerry, or Loony Toons sketches.

While the humor in the movie comes from a heightened look at reality and silly physical stunts, the heart of the movie comes from Xi, a member of the San tribe of the Kalahari.  Xi’s people know no modern conveniences and have never experienced white people, advanced technology, or our society’s rules and laws.  So, when a bush-pilot tosses an empty glass Coke bottle out the window of his plane and it lands near Xi’s home, Xi’s life is changed forever.

At first the bottle is a novelty, and the tribe finds dozens of uses for it.  But the San people don’t have words for “mine” or “yours,” so this exciting new object begins to cause some fighting amongst these otherwise peaceful people.  When things go a bit too far, Xi decides that it is his mission to return this funny object to the gods, who were crazy enough to drop it from the heavens in the first place.  He sets off on a mission to toss the bottle off the edge of the Earth.

Along the way, Xi encounters a biologist, a school teacher, a revolutionary, a military unit, a mechanic, and a safari guide – all of them in the midst of their own goofy, slapstick filled adventures.

Throughout this year we’ve looked at some pretty heavy movies loaded with difficult subject matter, so it would be easy to dismiss a light-hearted, fun-filled comedy like The Gods Must Be Crazy as silly and not educational, however there is a ton we can take away from the movie about the Kalahari, the bushmen, the wild-life, the Xhosa people, and the amazing scenery we’ll see in South Africa.  Beyond that, we get to see what the South African sense of humor is like, and maybe gain a little insight into the people we’ll be meeting very soon.

Kalahari Bushmen

The Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert, also known as the San people, are indigenous to southern Africa.  The San people are a fantastic link to the past, as many scientists believe they are among the oldest populations on Earth and may be among the groups that all humans have descended from.  Until just a few years ago, the San people existed outside of modern society, living off of their land, hunting and gathering, and living a nomadic lifestyle most of society left behind when civilizations sprouted roots back in Ancient Mesopotamia.

Take a look at this sciency video that explains sciency things about the San people better than I could:

 

Recently the San have begun farming, because of government initiatives that forced them to modernize, but for hundreds of years previous to that, they lived only on the animals they could hunt and the plants they could gather.

Most of the Kalahari Desert is in Botswana, the country directly north of South Africa.  Some of the desert does creep into parts of South Africa, but it’s likely that Xi’s people live in Botswana.  Of course, that begs the question, why are we talking about and watching this movie that takes place in Botswana to get ready for our trip to South Africa?  Simply, you have to remember, the San people are nomads.  They go where the food is (not anymore, but in the past), so way back in history, they were THE people of South Africa (long before anyone decided to draw borders and give the countries and regions names).  They were also there long before any of the Bantu tribes like the Xhosas, the Zulus, or any of the other peoples migrated south from Central Africa.  Also, the movie was made by South African filmmakers and became one of the most popular movies in the nation’s history.

When the Bantu came from the north, and later the European whites settled in Cape Town and spread from there, the San people were pushed off the land they’d used for generations.  Looking at the San, who haven’t changed (at least in the movie) much for thousands of years, you get a good look at what South Africa was like long before the Bantu tribes and the white settlers showed up.

Xi, the main character from The Gods Must Be Crazy, is played by Nᴉxau, a real Kalahari Bushman.  Nᴉxau had little understanding of the modern world, and had rarely seen white people before the filming of the movie.  He didn’t know how old he was, and it’s been said that when he was paid (not very much) for his role in the movie, he didn’t understand the value of the paper money he was given.  It wasn’t a tool you could hunt, dig, or build with and you couldn’t eat it, so it had no real value to Nᴉxau.  He literally dropped it on the ground and let it blow away.  Later, after the movie became insanely successful (and Nᴉxau became a little more savvy about the ways of the modern world), the producers gave him a good chunk of money and paid him a monthly stipend to say thanks.

While the movie was made in the 1980s, the lifestyle of the San had already begun to become more modern.  Some conveniences like knives and tools were traded for with other tribes or modern people by the 1960s and ‘70s, so the Bushmen portrayed in the movie aren’t quite accurate to that time period, but closer to the way they lived about 50 years earlier than when the movie takes place.  The inaccuracy is okay, because even in the 80s, there were several San families that lived much further into the Kalahari and had far less contact with modern society than those that lived on the edges of the desert.

Take a look at this video from a show from the ‘60s and ‘70s called Wild Kingdom.  It gives you a really good look at the lifestyle of the San people.  One thing I found remarkable is that many of the men, both young and old, look a great deal like Nᴉxau/Xi from the movie.  There’s probably something profound and sciency to say about that, but all I’ve got is that they look alike:

 

Talk This Way

With eleven official languages in South Africa, language is going to be an interesting conversation in just about every movie we watch or activity we do.  The Kalahari Bushmen speak in a click language that has to be heard to even have a clue what that means.  The video below starts talking about talking at about 34 seconds in.

 

Afrikaans is a language that is considered a “daughter language” to Dutch.  The Dutch settlers came from Europe in the 1600s and over time their language has evolved into something unique from the original Dutch those explorers spoke – sort of similar to how American English and British English were once the same, but have evolved into distinct branches of the same language.  There’s not much Afrikaans in the version of the movie you’ll watch, but a good percentage of the original movie was filmed with the actors speaking Afrikaans – it’s since been dubbed into English to appeal to wider audiences.

The Kalahari Desert

In the movie, Xi starts in the Kalahari, but walks all the way to the Blyde River Canyon – about halfway between J’burg and Swaziland.

The Kalahari Desert is a huge semi-arid area of southern Africa, covering 350,000 square miles – which is most of Botswana, along with parts of Namibia and South Africa.  While we won’t be in the Kalahari during our visit to South Africa, it is important to know a bit about the land, the people, and the animals of the region before we get to Africa.

The Kalahari looks quite a bit different from what we typically think of when we imagine a desert, because it supports a great deal of plant and wildlife.  You have to understand that a desert is defined by the minimal amount of annual precipitation, not the presence of sand and camels.  So if anyone ever asks you the trivia question – what is the most populated desert in the world, the answer is Los Angeles, California.  L.A. doesn’t look like a typical desert, but because of the incredibly low annual precipitation, it is technically considered one.

The name Kalahari comes from the Tswana words Kgala, meaning “the great thirst” or Kgalagadi, meaning “a waterless place.”  The Kalahari is a desert because of the very little rainfall it gets, however, there is one permanent river and a great deal of vegetation.

Rather than describing the desert to you, I’m including a video about zebras and how they survive in such an inhospitable environment.  Notice, while you watch, that the animals of the Kalahari, just like the San people, are nomadic.  Be careful, there are a few difficult scenes in this video, but it’s nature – and since we’re going to be in the middle of an African wildlife park in a few months, you better be able to handle nature.

 

The Wildlife Must Be Crazy

In one funny scene in the movie, a rhino emerges from a grove of trees to stamp out a campfire.  There are actually legends about rhinoceroses stomping out fires in India and Malaysia, and there are stories of a mythical rhino in parts of Asia named – badak api.  Badak means rhinoceros and api means fire. (On a side note, I think rhino fire sounds like a really cool super power).  This animal would appear when a fire started in the forests and stamp it out to protect the wildlife and the forests.  However, it appears that this is just a myth, because no one has seen this happen in real life.  Although, who knows? Maybe rhinos are shy, and they only stamp out fires when no one is around.

Nothing has ever been more awesome.  Nothing.

Nothing has ever been more awesome. Nothing.

The movie also features a warthog that isn’t nearly as friendly (or as musical) as Pumbaa from The Lion King.  One thing I learned about warthogs that I thought was interesting was that when they run, their tails stand straight up, and babies always run behind their mother in a single file line.

Giraffes are the tallest animal in the world.  Even a newborn baby giraffe is usually taller than most humans.  Maybe because they like being up so high, they rarely sit or lay down.  They even sleep standing up, which isn’t saying much, because giraffes average between ten minutes and two hours of sleep a day – one of the lowest sleep requirements of any mammal.

You can hear a lion’s roar from up to five miles away, an interesting fact that comes in to play in The Gods Must Be Crazy II, which explains why I can hear the lion all the way from the other side of the Brookfield Zoo.  Another interesting tidbit for our club full of world travelers – Lions are the national animal of Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, England, Ethiopia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Singapore.  What’s weird about that is that lions are not found in the wild in any of those countries.  What’s awesome about that is TAP has been to England, and Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands are all on our next trip – with the lions we’ll see in South Africa that makes three out of the last four TAP trips lioneriffic.

The movie also features kudu, a large South African antelope.  Those of you that watched (or maybe even read) Jock of the Bushveld might remember that a kudu was the animal that kicked Jock in the head during a hunt, causing him to go deaf.  Jock was lucky though, kudus’ legs are incredibly strong.  They can jump up to seven feet in the air, and have been know to snap the necks of wild dogs or jackals with one kick.

The ostrich has to be in nature’s top ten list of weirdest looking creatures on the planet.  They are perfectly adapted for life in the Kalahari, though.  They will drink if they happen to come across a watering hole, but they don’t need to drink – their bodies extract all the fluid they need from the plants they eat.  There’s also a funny scene in The Gods Must Be Crazy II where an ostrich tries to protect her eggs from a man lost in the desert and a baboon.

Home is Where the Cylindrical Hut is

The San are not the only tribe featured in The Gods Must Be Crazy.  About halfway through the movie, a school teacher named Kate Thompson, who has been traveling from the big city to start a new life, arrives in a Xhosa village to teach.  Unlike the San, the Xhosa people were not nomadic.  They raised herds of cattle and lived in small villages.

The cattle were kept in fenced in areas called Kraals, and the people lived in round huts with thatched roofs.  You may have seen some of these huts in Mr. Doerr’s architecture presentation, and you’ll definitely see them in the movie.

The villages were laid out in carefully planned ways, with the huts surrounding the kraals to protect the livestock from jackals and lions and such.  There was generally a section of the village called “The Great Place,” where the chief lived.  He didn’t necessarily have larger huts, but he’d have a grouping of several smaller huts, usually one for each of his wives.

The rest of the huts would be grouped by family, those closest related to the chief would live closest to him, and those who were not, lived further out.

The village isn’t shown a ton in the movie, but there is a scene where Miss Thompson (the teacher) greets the villagers from up on top of a hill.  She looks down at the village below and sees the Xhosa people waving at her.  It’s only a second or two, so take a minute to pause the movie and get a look at their village – see if you think the filmmakers did a good job creating a Xhosa village.

Both Nelson and Winnie Mandela grew up in Xhosa villages like the one in the movie.  Nelson’s father was a councillor to the chief, so he was a man of importance.  When his father died, Nelson was adopted and raised by the chief of his village.  Winnie’s father was the chief of his village, so she grew up with a great deal of privilege and responsibility.

God’s Window

During our trip back from Kruger National Park to Johannesburg we’ll stop off in another nature preserve area called The Blyde River Canyon.  I’m going to go ahead and assume you can figure out that there’s a river, called the Blyde River, and over time (just like the Grand Canyon) that river carved out a canyon – The Blyde River Canyon.

The canyon is set at the edge of the Drakensberg Mountains, and God’s Window is a scenic overlook – where you can look from atop the cliffs down to the valley almost 2,000 feet below.  The canyon is the third largest in the world, and God’s Window offers one of the best views.

SPOILER ALERT:  God’s Window is featured in the movie, at the very end.  Xi finally finds “the edge of the world” and throws the bottle off.  The view from God’s Window really does look like the edge of the world, because you’re so high up that the valley sometimes fills with mist and clouds, looking like you’re standing on the very edge of the Earth.  You can see that in the video embedded below:

 

Giant Trees

Those of you that have read Mr. Curtis’ all time favorite book – The Little Prince – have already heard of the Baobab Tree.  There are many different types of Baobabs, but the ones we’ll see in South Africa look like the ones in the picture here.

Baobabs are an incredibly unique kind of tree, growing to enormous sizes and sometimes living 3,000 years.  There is one ancient Baobab in Zimbabwe (just north of South Africa) that has been hollowed out – the inside of this tree is so big that forty adults can stand inside.  Other Baobabs have been turned into shops, homes, storage sheds, bus garages, and even once a prison.

The Baobabs that grow in South Africa have a gray, smooth, shiny bark that almost looks copper or pink depending on the light and the angle.  The bark is very unique, because if torn off or even burned, it will grow back, leading many to believe the tree could live forever.  When the leaves have fallen off in the dry season, the branches resemble normal tree roots and it looks as if the tree has been planted upside down, with the roots sticking up into the air.

An old Baobab tree can become an ecosystem all on its own.  Giraffes may eat the leaves while thousands of tiny insects scurry around in it’s branches and bark.  Birds build nests,  baboons feast on the fruit, bats drink the nectar, bush babies live in the branches, and elephants will sometimes eat an entire tree.

A Baobab sapling looks very different than when the tree is grown, which is why the Bushmen of the Kalahari believe them to be magic trees that crash down from the sky with a thump, fully grown.  When the trees die, they rot from the inside out, and eventually just crumble to the ground in a pile of fibers – one day it’s there, the next it’s not.  Again, this makes it seem as if the trees just magically disappear.

In the movie, and the sequel, Baobab trees play some important roles. The most memorable Baobab scenes are when a plane gets stuck in the branches of the tree in The Gods Must Be Crazy II.  You’re just going to have to see it to believe it.

The Sequel

In The Gods Must Be Crazy II, you get more slapstick fun with Xi.  This time poacher is smuggling illegally gotten elephant tusks out of the area in a big truck.  Xi’s children, curious about the strange looking animal (the truck), climb aboard, but are unable to get off before the poacher drives away.  Meanwhile, a scientist and a lawyer find themselves in trouble when their ultra-light plane goes down in the Kalahari, two soldiers from opposing nations try to outwit one another, and Xi, trying to catch up to his kids, encounters everyone. As if that’s not enough, there’s also an angry badger, a thirsty baboon, a hungry hyena, and a very protective ostrich.  The Gods Must Be Crazy II is embedded below.

__________________

Like we said, there’s not an obvious lesson to be learned from this movie like there was in some of the other films we’ve watched.  In this movie, we want you to take away a better understanding of some of the people in the movie, like the Kalahari Bushmen, the Xhosa tribes, or even the white South Africans doing their best to help the country in their own ways.  We also want you to get some insight into modern South African people – knowing that this low budget, silly comedy was one of the most successful movies in South African history tells you a lot about the people.  Our most successful movies are big budget, action packed, and filled with big-name movie stars and expensive special effects – The Avengers, Titanic, and Avatar come to mind.  What does that tell you about the differences in our societies?

The movie isn’t without teachable moments, though.  Look closely at the wildlife, the trees, and the landscape.  Watch how Xi and the other Bushmen interact with nature.  Listen to characters like Andrew Steyn and M’pudi (the mechanic) talk about and react to the Bushmen.  Watch how Xi reacts to the modern world.  Take a close look at the Xhosa village, their clothing, and listen to the way they talk.  Oh, and laugh – it’s a funny movie, so don’t forget that life doesn’t always have to be serious – sure, we’re going to South Africa to learn, but learning can be fun too.

So, as always, grab yourself so delicious South African snacks, maybe some ostrich eggs and warthog bacon, and watch The Gods Must Be Crazy (and maybe The Gods Must Be Crazy II) and the other videos we’ve posted today.

(Note: Neither of these videos has the greatest picture quality, but they’re free.  If you want to find a better copy, I’m sure you could at Hulu or Amazon or another site like that if you’re willing to pay for it.) 

The Gods Must Be Crazy

 

The Gods Must Be Crazy II

 

We ask that all of our South Africa travelers take the time to watch our Movies of the Month, then come back here to discuss the movie, the history, the language, the wildlife, the places we’ll see, the events depicted, and the other videos embedded in this post. The longer and more in depth our discussion gets, the better it is for all of us. Please complete this assignment before our April meeting.

The Gods Must Be Crazy and The Gods Must Be Crazy II can both be found for free on YouTube, but we’ve embedded all the videos we’ve discussed right here in this post for your convenience.  Aren’t we nice?

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56 Comments leave one →
  1. Brian Cottingim permalink
    March 1, 2015 4:08 pm

    That was pretty funny, I’ve got to admit. But after the dude said,”aye ya aye!” for the fourteenth time it started to get annoying. But it made up for itself, I loved the comedy in it. The language was very interesting. I’d love to hear some of it on our trip or in some of our research. I saw many different plants and animals im excited to learn about too. I loved all of the classic comedy. It was a great movie.

    • March 1, 2015 6:16 pm

      Be specific. What language was interesting and why? What plants and animals caught your interest and why?

      • Brian Cottingim permalink
        March 2, 2015 4:22 pm

        The clicking noises really made me curious, I tried saying a phrase they said, I totally failed, after 20 tries I finally got it…kind of. My mouth usually doesn’t move that way. I think it’s really inventive to do the clicking noises to differentiate words from other words. The plants were interesting, like those baobab trees around the campers “settlement.” I remember reading about these trees in the little prince, pulling them out of the ground. I had a image in my head about how they looked, like a Dr. Seuss tree almost. But now that I read what you wrote, I had an aha moment.

        • March 2, 2015 7:34 pm

          I’m glad you remember The Little Prince. That’s my favorite. Funny how that book and this movie have hardly anything in common, but we can both make that connection.

          • Brian Cottingim permalink
            March 3, 2015 6:34 pm

            It is a wonderful book, I loved the story, my favorite part is when the little prince went to the planet with the man that would turn on and off the street light because the day went past so quickly. I loved the attitude towards his job, that he just kept doing it because, it was his job, simply.

  2. Maddy Trouvais permalink
    March 1, 2015 8:56 pm

    That movie was really funny. toward the beginning, i didnt really grasp what exactly was happening until the part when the rebels were being chased by the soldiers and came across the school and took them hostage. then the parts came together. i noticed it was 3 different story lines that tied together at that moment which was pretty cool. also, i really found the clicking language interesting. its something we dont really hear everyday and its a pretty interesting thing to listen to.

    • March 2, 2015 7:11 am

      What was it specifically that you liked about the movie and found funny?

      • Maddy Trouvais permalink
        March 2, 2015 8:39 pm

        Well, what I found funny was the part when he was trying to get the car through the gates but he couldn’t turn the car off so he couldn’t get through without using a rock and that sometimes didn’t even work. I couldn’t stop laughing at that part it was so funny to me. And I really liked the scenery and how vast and open some parts were.

  3. Dylan Blough permalink
    March 2, 2015 9:58 pm

    This was a pretty funny movie in my book. I found that the funniest part of the movie was when the truck got stuck in the river and Mr. Steyn was trying to get the truck onto land. The same thing that happened to Maddy happened to me, the not grasping exactly was going on until later in the movie. By far my favorite story line of the three had to be Xi’s journey. It really gave me a good idea into how simple the Bushmen looked at life and nature. Something really struck me when they said in the movie that the bushmen had no words like guilty. Also in the post, words like mine and yours not existing.

    • March 4, 2015 7:26 am

      What were some of the things about the Bushmen that were new to you? Did you gain anything from watching the other videos in the post?

      • Dylan Blough permalink
        March 5, 2015 11:36 pm

        I’d say some things that were new were their view on the bottle. They got rid of it when it caused problems with the people, even though it was a “new” thing that everyone wanted. On the other side of the coin, us as a society do the exact opposite, we bring in new iPhones/ Droids, and people are dieing and getting seriously hurt because people want to steal these things. I gained a look into one of the many languages of South Africa from the videos in the post.

        • March 6, 2015 2:35 pm

          Did you try speaking in the click language?

          • Dylan Blough permalink
            March 6, 2015 4:39 pm

            I tried, but I was probably just speaking gibberish

  4. Jordan Springer permalink
    March 3, 2015 10:57 am

    I liked the movie, but I wouldn’t say it was necessarily one of my favorites.I’m not really a fan of the slapstick humor, but I still enjoyed the movie. I think my favorite part of the movie was seeing how the society of the Bushman differed from ours, and I also enjoyed the social commentary that accompanied the introduction of the San Bushman. It was really very interesting to listen to the Bushman language, and it was difficult to distinguish one word from another. Also, the natural scenery was beautiful, I hope we see something similar on our trip.

    • March 4, 2015 7:27 am

      What was it about the Bushman lifestyle that most interested you?

      • Jordan Springer permalink
        March 4, 2015 5:10 pm

        I was very interested in their sense of community and sharing. Living in a society that values material possessions, the idea of a community where no one has possession of anything is rather foreign to me. However, the Bushmen seemed to handle this concept well and also seemed to be a lot happier for it. Also, it was really intriguing to see a society where violence/crime was nonexistent and few had ever experienced physical pain. Growing up, I learned to be suspicious of everything and constantly had a scraped knee, so it was odd, to say the least, to see children who had never had these experiences.

  5. Emily Blenck permalink
    March 7, 2015 11:15 am

    Alright so overall, I liked the movie. Noticed how I used the word “like” not “love.” I felt like their was too many things going on to really fully experience one sense of a plot. For an example, I thought all of the parts with Mr. Steyn and Ms. Thompson were rather dry and not very satisfying. However, my favorite favorite favorite part of the movie was the way beginning where the narrator was explaining the Bushman way of life. It was so amazing to see these untouched and almost pure people, unconcerned by anything except for the well being of their family. The way they built up their society and communicated with each other was so fascinating and enjoyable to see. When I caught sight of the baobab tree, The Little Prince (a book I’ve actually read several times since sixth grade) popped into my head. Not only did the trees remind me of the book, but the state of the movie in general. I remember you telling us that one of the most interesting things about The Little Prince was that a child could read it and come up with a meaning for the story, and a college professor could read the exact same book and create a whole different meaning. I feel like the whole bottle situation kind of mocks that same idea. For those who don’t deepen their thoughts, the bottle was simply a silly bottle dropped into a field, something that was new and unique and made the Bushmen crazy. But for those who think just a bit more, the bottle stands for impurity. It represents the greed that contributes to our society through man made things. Once that greed hit the perfect lives of the Bushmen, their whole entire world changed. As for Xi, he tries his hardest to get rid of the bottle, but in some way, the thing will never go away. I just found it really cool how you could pull all these metaphors from one simple story.

    • March 9, 2015 7:10 am

      Did you find any differences between the way the bushmen were portrayed in the movie and in the documentaries?

  6. cj moody permalink
    March 8, 2015 11:32 am

    Let me just start by saying, I loved the first video in this post. I didn’t really grasp it as much in Biology class last year but now that he shows in a visual way, it makes sense. That was a great addition for educational purpose. The movie, though, wasnt my favorite that we’ve watched. I’ll admit I really enjoyed Xi and his whole adventure, and I enjoyed hearing the bushmen language. As did most other people, I got kind of confused on how the three stories would intertwine into one. But, once it did, the story became much better. The language is what people would “stereotypically” think of people in Africa, clicking and knocking noises. This would be a pretty interesting language to learn, I could make the noises, but I wouldn’t be able to memorize them. Overall, liked the movie for the scenery with the animals, the culture and language.

    • March 9, 2015 7:11 am

      Do you think we should offer those click languages as a foreign language option in our high schools?

      • cj moody permalink
        March 9, 2015 7:21 am

        To be completely honest, I was going to say that in my post! I think that would be awesome! You wouldnt be using it very often but would be an amazing class to take… Wonder what writing those languages would be like

        • March 9, 2015 7:25 am

          That’s a really good question. It would be interesting to know if they have any sort of written language. Some other South African languages, like Xhosa and Zulu, use clicks too – I’d be interested to see how those show up in written form. I wonder if anyone reading this will research it at report back…

          • Dylan Blough permalink
            March 9, 2015 7:36 am

            I just looked it, there are symbols that are used to represent different types of clicks. Look at http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Click_consonant under transcription to see them

          • cj moody permalink
            March 9, 2015 9:43 am

            I actually noticed in the movie that there were symbols, in Xi’s real name! Nᴉxau ǂToma, and I think it would be cool to learn them, even a few if you could. Since there is a “written” language I wonder if they actually write for certain things, and what would they write for? They are mostly self relied and don’t really make contact with others… What things would they write about?

  7. Haley Watson permalink
    March 8, 2015 8:04 pm

    This wasn’t really my cup of tea. Im not into comedy movies to begin with, so the 80’s humor wasn’t anything i was really entertained by. It was kind of hard to follow in the beginning, because it didnt seem like the storylines connected, but i guess they connected it with the bushman’s “tranquilizing serum” (or whatever its called) saving the children and all. I felt bad for the little bushman guy when they threw him in jail because he wasn’t used to there being rules, and must’ve not known what was going on or what he had done wrong.

    • March 9, 2015 7:14 am

      How would you feel if we got to meet some San Bushmen during our trip?

      • cj moody permalink
        March 9, 2015 9:47 am

        That would be awesome! There’s a huge language barrier, but maybe I’ll research a few simple phrases just incase that were to happen somehow. Basically just tell them that I don’t know much of their language but would like to learn it sometime… And it would be interesting to see their daily life in person, and not through videos. Videos don’t do certain things justice, they only show bits and pieces

      • Austin Stein permalink
        March 10, 2015 9:09 pm

        If it wasn’t by chance we just happened to me him, and it was on the tour, personally, I would sit down and research how to speak some of the language. Though I wouldn’t be able to ask as many questions as I would to get a first hand account of his culture and people, I would still love to at least introduce myself and ask if I could observe him for the day.

      • Haley Watson permalink
        March 11, 2015 8:53 pm

        It would definetly be cool, but I’d feel awkward considering how different everything is with them. How they speak, how they dress, how/where they live, what they do for fun, its all very different then anything I or anybody on the trip does that I don’t really know how we could actually even interact with them.

        • March 12, 2015 7:30 am

          Isn’t seeing and trying to understand something so different the whole point of traveling?

  8. Austin Stein permalink
    March 10, 2015 9:04 pm

    This movie… wasn’t what I thought it would be. I expected the entire movie to revolve around the tribe finding the coke bottle and eventually returning it to the civilized people but in reality that’s only a fraction of the opening minutes. And to be honest, out of all the subplots, Xi and the Kalahari people was the only one that entertained me. I loved the take on how this “gift from the gods” ends up hurting the people (literally) more than it does help them; It reminded me not everywhere in the world is as “modern” or advanced as us. The interactions between the members of the tribe before and after really took me for a ride. They were so peaceful, but one slam into the head was it took to change everything. And the disconnect between the two worlds, Xi’s and the modern characters, was so well done; neither could either communicate with one another, and as a result, more and more problems arise from the inability to understand. I loved the story of Xi, but after an hour of watching and having all the other subplots take focus, I got bored really easily. The movie got creative at times but to call this movie comedy… maybe when it was first released it was hilarious, but watching it in 2015 really shined light on how far comedy since then has evolved. This movie feels to me like District 9 all over again: the plot in the beginning drew me in and I was highly interested, but the focus changed midway and I just couldn’t enjoy it afterwords.

  9. Hannah Breier permalink
    March 11, 2015 6:38 pm

    This movie was for sure not my favorite. However, it gave me an extremely cool insight to the Bushmen people! They reminded me of the people in the beginning of “Zulu” but this movie gave me a more vivid idea. I thought it was really cool how they were all together as a family and that the bottle was “a gift sent from the gods”. They were so different from the people in the city, the one bushmen described the man in the courtroom as “he had a brown covering on top of his skin”. I think this really helped me to realize how unique they were compared to the rest of the world.

    *Note: I will watch the sequel and write another comment*

    • March 12, 2015 7:28 am

      What I wanted you to get out of the movie is that not all African natives are the same – the bushmen are incredibly different from the Zulu warriors we saw in Zulu. I hope that came across.

      • Hannah Breier permalink
        March 12, 2015 3:21 pm

        oh ok. Now that i think about it, they are different from the zulu’s.

  10. Cameron Smith permalink
    March 13, 2015 6:23 pm

    Wow that movie was extremely good and funny with an interesting plot and idea. The movie does however require a bit of backround information to understand what’s going on at times. What else the movie does well is taking realistic themes but with a cartoonish style of comedy. I mean certain parts of the movie instantly reminded me of looney toons while other’s reminded me of the serious themes in fury. This works in the movies favor by instantly appealing to both kids and adults alike. In conclusion the movie was really good. The San bushman I found really interesting, the way they have traits of different nationalitys because of the bushman who left to the rest of the world to start the beginning of civalazations. It was also intresting how they were able to survive in an environment considered uninhabitable and how ahead of its time their hunting tactics worked, tracking animals before other tribes and using poisons to hunt game easier. I was also fascinated at how their language worked using clicking sounds instead of the traditional sounds we make when we speak. This was an excellent way of showing how different tribes could be or what they did that effected life today

    • March 13, 2015 9:38 pm

      It sounds like you watched the other videos as well as the movie. Do you plan to watch The Gods Must Be Crazy 2 also?

  11. Kate Gall permalink
    March 13, 2015 9:36 pm

    I liked the movie more than the others and I definitely laughed a few times It was interesting to see how many different ways the Bushmen utilized the Coke bottle! They were pretty creative. Before watching this movie, I never thought about what it might be like if I was unaware of history, modern technology and the science that can explain why so many things exist today. But the trade off of living as a Bushmen free from jealously, hatred, self-serving and material possessions might be worth it. It is almost impossible for me to imagine such a place. I hope that we will meet people like the Bushmen on our trip, it would be a nice change of pace.

  12. Stephanie Melendez permalink
    March 13, 2015 10:19 pm

    I’m going to be completely honest this was not my favorite movie. Although I did not enjoy the movie itself, I really enjoyed all of the characters in the movie, especially the Bushmen people! The Bushmen people were very different than the people who lived in the city. They really showed me how much you can really accomplish when you have your family right by your side to help you. They may not have much, but they use their skills and resources to help them survive in the wild. The Bushmen also showed me that it’s okay to be different. We don’t all have to be the same to be happy. They have their own way of getting through life just as happily as the people of the city get throught their lives. Another thing I found very interesting was their language! To be completely honest, I tried to speak their language but I failed tremendously!! I just think it’s very cool that they have a language through clicking sounds. That is something I would be very interested in learning! Also I really liked the whole concept of the bottle at the beginning of the movie. I thought it was really funny that they thought the bottle was sent from the gods and it was cursing them. I guess they’re just not used to seeing something like that from where they’re from. It just amused me how the bushmen people were actually cursing themselves because they didn’t know exactly what to do with the “strange” object that they found. Overall, I’d say that this movie really made me think about the different lifestyles people have in South Africa!

  13. erin seymour permalink
    March 14, 2015 8:36 am

    I really did enjoy this movie. It was definitely a comedy. I looked deep into it through. Throughout the movie, it showed loving life in two different society’s. It really showed me what is wrong with an average person’s community today. If there is violence and war, how can we even call it a community. Even a soda bottle is a bad thing. One soda bottle caused a conflict between the family of Africans that used their natural resources. But there are a million soda bottles in just one town. This basically shows that we are not a community.

  14. Gianna Kriechbaum permalink
    March 20, 2015 4:52 pm

    This was actually a really funny movie. At first I couldn’t really get into it because it wasn’t very entertaining to me at first. But the more I watched it, the more I got into it. There were a couple spots where it got kind of annoying just with some certain thingd but it did get better and more entertaining. I really had fun with this movie. The language was very weird, and honestly at points it got kind of bothersome with the clicking but it was also quite cool. When the men took the children and lady I was kind of scared for them but at the same time I felt like it would be okay. Either way, this movie was good and also really funny. The guys journey to take the bottle to the end of the earth was hilarious. But yay he made it!!

    • March 23, 2015 7:12 am

      I sure hope you don’t find the people in South Africa “bothersome” when they speak in their own language as you visit their country.

  15. Kelsie Stanley permalink
    March 22, 2015 11:18 am

    I liked this movie. The most interesting part for me was the language; the clicks and other sounds were really interesting to listen to. I also enjoyed seeing the Bushman people and their way of life. They didn’t need belongings or complex technology, they were happier with simplicity. I liked how this was shown with the coke bottle and how they began to have anger and frustration once it came along.

    • March 23, 2015 7:18 am

      What are the benefits of living in a modern world, but staying disconnected from society like they were?

      • Kelsie Stanley permalink
        March 25, 2015 6:52 am

        They didn’t have to worry about having the latest technology to survive because they were already happy just the way they are. They also don’t have jealousy because everyone has the same things.

  16. Hannah Breier permalink
    March 22, 2015 5:08 pm

    Comment about the sequel:
    I have too agree with you Mr. Curtis, I really did enjoy the second movie better. It had me laughing so much more than the first, and it compared Bushmen lifestyle to South Africans’ incredibly. The Bushman was willing to help others even though he was looking for his kids. Also, the second movie gave me a glimpse on how poaching really is.

    • March 23, 2015 7:20 am

      Which parts did you find funny?

      • Hannah Breier permalink
        March 23, 2015 3:45 pm

        How the poachers reacted to the Bushmen running in front of their vehicle, the game reserve officials driving their jeeps, and a few incidents with the plane and the two main characters.

  17. erin seymour permalink
    March 24, 2015 3:45 pm

    I also thought the movie was definitely a comedy, when the guy with his car tried to park it and get the gate open and it kept rolling over the rock an away. That was funny, and how the rhinos kept putting out the fire and the lady thought was that man.

  18. Ronnie Stovall permalink
    March 25, 2015 7:13 pm

    Wow I really did like this movie. I liked how the Bush people are always so happy I thought how the whole world could learn something from them. They never fight, are always kind, and never yell I liked that a lot. It was shame a small item could bring chaos to there whole peace loving world. I also thought it was strange with using clicking noises but an unique way to communicate. It shows how cruel the world can be putting him in jail. I couldn’t hear his name correctly but I thought it started with a C. Any way it was wrong to put someone that doesn’t know what guilty mean go to jail for 11 weeks and he didn’t fight back about it. Anderson was funny like trying to get his car to stay in one place and dropping the girl in the water, Mrs. Thompson. Last think I would like to say longest comedy I ever watched, but at least I liked it.

    • March 26, 2015 7:07 am

      What do you think you learned from this movie that may help you in South Africa?

  19. Ronnie Stovall permalink
    March 27, 2015 6:05 pm

    What will help us in South Africa is that we should try to learn about the people’s culture and language because it may be different from ours it will help a lot since we might not understand the people like in the movie the bush people are very peaceful and the people of South Africa did not understand that so he had to serve 11 weeks sentenced to jail so I think it be very helpful in South Africa not to judge anyone that a little different and get to know them a little better.

  20. Yazmine Thomas permalink
    April 6, 2015 1:06 pm

    Although this movie wasn’t my favorite, I enjoyed watching It. I thought the Coke Bottle resembles today’s technology and advancements. The bottle demonstrates that technology leads to violence and inequalities; this is depicted once the bushmen receive the coke bottle. The scenes switch between the Bushmen’s culture and the African’s culture, comparing the two different societies. This requires the audience to think about why the cultures are so different. At the beginning of the movie I was able to spot the difference between the two cultures. The Bushmen were peaceful, inventive, and resourceful; whereas, the civilized society were lazy, dependent on technology, and violent. It actually made me mad that the bushmen was sentenced to 3 months in prison for something that was acceptable in his culture. The movie also depicts some of Africa’s amazing wildlife. I got confused at some points because of the structure of the movie. I was wondering how all the different stories were going to tie together. Once the stories came together , the movie was easier to follow. I also enjoyed the bushmen’s language. When I was younger, one of my mother’s friends was Haitian and her language incorporated a lot of clicking sounds and I thought it was so cool to hear her speak in her native tongue.

    • April 7, 2015 7:05 am

      I didn’t know Haitian had the click sounds in it too. Are there any other languages or places where people speak like this besides South Africa and Haiti?

      • Yazmine Thomad permalink
        April 7, 2015 12:00 pm

        I looked it up and it says only African languages incorporate clicking noises. Perhaps I am remembering her language incorrectly….

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