October 23, 2021


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‘Good Madam’ Review: Clever, Culturally Expressing South Africa’s Horror

4 min read

“It’s not that Mama doesn’t like this house – this house doesn’t like Mama,” CD explained to her young daughter Winnie about the spacious, comfortable Cape Town pad where they recently took up residence. Tsidi knows the place well. As far as he can remember, it was the home of his mother Mavis, which is not to say that it is the house of Mavis: a resident housemaid, she has responsibly maintained this place for decades to make her better, white madam, survival and old age and even Raising children – on his own and otherwise – within the walls that hold him at once and reject him forever. The socially inherent politics of South Africa’s master-servant culture ultimately surrounds the crisp, cool chamber piece “Good Madam” of the Jenna Kato bus.

A quiet, deeply wounded horror film, the fourth and fastest feature of the bus may flirt with the supernatural, but finds the fullness of terror in social dynamics that is so common to many South Africans. (After all, it’s the territory of South Africa’s most popular daily comic strip, “Madame and Eve”, although no gentle smile is found here.)

After earning a respectable mention in the Toronto Platform Competition, “Good Madam” certainly aroused international interest, making it easy for critics and marketers to imagine a multi-shaded wave of black-and-white conflict to compare to Jordan Peel. But the film of the bus has its own volatile creation: the resemblance of a genre trope familiar with a particular national instability, it draws a fine balance of universal resonance and cultural features. Based on her equally interesting but less disciplined neo-Western “Flatland”, “Good Madam” established the bus as an ideal-carrier for the new South African cinema.

The uncomfortably amplified sound design immediately puts the viewer on the edge of the initial domestic joke: pans, rusty drains and fakes tightened around a scrubbing brush, all tight, greasy close-ups. These are the daily chores for Mavis (Nosifo Metebe), who is getting a little older and tired of the routine, if he is not as old and tired as his employer Diane in his bed, but a big invisible presence instead of us Feel the rich Constantia, with the light and colonial decor of her home in the predominantly white Capitonian suburbs. (What is set in one of South Africa’s whitest pictures is the almost entirely black dress “the subtlest of the good madam’s surprises and contrasts.”

When Tsidi (Chumisa Cosa) arrives unannounced to stay with Mavis in the quarters of her restless servants, asking if it is probably not time to take care of Diane, Mavis easily indicates that she will get herself out of the house in the process. Like countless white South Africans, Diane’s children have moved to Australia, “she’s my problem, she’s my burden” – and cruelly her lifeline. “Good Madame” mocks the hypocritical social contract by which long-term domestic workers are often declared “part of the family” by their employers, and even their income, housing, and ultimate inheritance clearly identify them as others.

Meanwhile, CD has spent his entire life in two worlds. Growing up in poverty by his grandmother from the Gugulethu family on the outskirts of Cape Town, he regularly visits Diane’s home to visit his mother, but he has not been deported for years. For his honest brother Gcinumzi (Sanda Shandu), this has been a very different story. Growing up in Diane’s home, where he was half-adopted by a white family and named Stuart, he became a TCD called “Coconut,” black and white outside: “I need Google Translate to communicate with me,” he said. snorts

Yet, vicious enough for Stuart and his now comfortable bourgeois existence, he wants the same for Winnie (Kamvalethu Jonas Razia), as they break into the house and slowly claim themselves in most of his empty room – even using Diane’s fine chin to make Mavis horrible. Crockery of cheap maids. “She’s living under apartheid,” TCD isn’t mistaken, though she still doesn’t know half of it: unfamiliar forces can play at home to ensure their continued enslavement, a legacy of the country’s ongoing inequality associated with a mythical, metaphorical strain.

If anything, misspell this weird whisper in the script of “Good Madam,” for which the film’s entire, excellent team is credited with co-writing the multilingual, freely code-switching exchanges of true skill and snap successful workshops, though storytelling There are. But it’s the sinful, disciplined filmmaking of the bus that offers all the bad vibrations and bad spirits while playing in this house, from which the film is never disturbed after its initial setup. Working as his own cinematographer, Bus Tip-Tung discusses home spaces, voids and blind spots with a camera, often anxious, peeking into the corners of blurry close-ups and around stairs. Its detail, living, bezel oppressive production design, meanwhile, is perceptible with a balance of South African average home tourism Africa and Western kitchens.

Ultimately, however, it’s two extraordinary lead performances that best elevate “Good Madam” from intelligent conceptual to something that anxiously sets in someone’s bones. As a mother and daughter who do not know each other so well – but both are pursuing social limitations, or at least protection, beyond their limited means – Snipish, Defendant Kosa and stunned, obscure Mtebe are angularly opposed to body language and vocal delivery, To meet the half, the film mirrors each other as it progresses, appearing as two versions of almost the same woman. Face to face and compensation, one of a kind, are made during the cunning social thriller of diameter; Hereditary taxonomy is hard to shake.

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