Umshini Wam (Bring Me My Machinegun)
They say that variety is the spice of life. In a continuing attempt to embrace that variety here with One Movie Each Day, I’ve decided to dedicate each Wednesday review to the stranger side of cinema, the type of movies that I’d never normally watch, but that I’m kind of secretly glad exist. In celebration or in condemnation of the eccentric, the odd, the freaky, the kinky, the ghastly, the freaky, the fearful, the flaky, and the freaky, I now present the eighteenth edition of Wednesday Weirdness.
Were it not for this blog, there’s a good chance I never would have heard of South African experimental rap/rave performance group Die Antwoord, and that would be a shame.
Fortunately, this blog does exist, and I’ve had the opportunity to spend some time today learning about the bizarre act, because their vocalists Ninja (Watkin Tudor Jones, a/k/a Max Normal, a/k/a The Man Who Never Came Back, a/k/a MC Totally Rad, a/k/a Yang Weapon, a/k/a Waddy, a/k/a WAD:e) and Yo-Landi Visser (Anri du Toit, a/k/a Yo-Landi Vi$$er, a/k/a Anica The Snuffling, a/k/a Prawn Star) are the stars of today’s film.
Directed by art-film fixture Harmony Korine, (who could become a Wednesday Weirdness regular if I were so inclined,) Umshini Wam (Bring Me My Machinegun) follows the exploits of Ninja and Yo-Landi, a pair of wheelchair bound South African wannabe gangsters who dress in pastel pajamas, pretend to shoot guns, smoke comically huge joints, complain about how they’re not respected because their wheelchairs are crappy, arm themselves with real MAC-10s, and go on a crime spree in order to obtain tricked-out wheelchairs with hologram rims.
It’s all very strange, yet it’s actually pretty impressive. The music is great, and the characters are simultaneously funny, pathetic, intimidating, and sad. I’m not entirely sure that I was supposed to find the movie as funny as I did, but maybe I was.
The film isn’t just funny, at times it’s downright thoughtful, (even if those thoughts don’t make a whole heck of a lot of sense.) It’s also violent, but most of all, it’s just bizarre, which makes it fit right in here. I enjoyed this movie, but I imagine for most people it’s the type of film that you’ll either love, or completely hate. Either way, at only about 16 minutes in length, it’s certainly worth seeing.