Africa in Hollywood, Elysium, Elysium Africa, Matt Damon, Neil Blomkamp, Sharlto Copley, South African cinema
This weekend I saw Neil Blomkamp’s ‘Elysium’, which is easily my favorite summer blockbuster of the year. I knew that the Director, Blomkamp (who is just in his early 30s), is South African and I saw his first feature length film, District 9, which was set in South Africa, in Pretoria. I had been living in a black hole of modern western entertainment in the Sahel as a Peace Corps volunteer and having heard about District 9 on the Voice of America, I had high hopes for watching the film while on vacation.
Unfortunately, I think my expectations were a bit too high and I walked out of the Ster Kinekor cinema in Pretoria a little disappointed. Four years later. Blomkamp’s next feature film is out, with strong reviews and I again walked into the theatre with high expectations.
Blomkamp more than delivered with ‘Elysium’. I had not known that the primary villain of the film was a white South African named Kruger. He and Matt Damon’s character delivered some great action sequences. Kruger’s South African posse could also be seen flying around in something resembling a helicopter stamped with the South African flag and they used Afrikaner slang such as ‘Howz it’ and ‘lekker’. However, Kruger, who at one point is seen kicking over a braai, is the only one with a marked South African accent.
Kruger is played by the Pretoria born Sharlto Copley, who was also a leading actor in District 9 and now divides his time between LA and Cape Town. He apparently has quite a thing for his fellow South African, Charlize Theron.