“And Tau, the Lion. The fastest, and strongest. Sometimes the meanest”
Five Fingers For Marseilles is a film with deep roots in the Kurosawa samurai and the Leone cowboy films, with traces of latter-era introspective movies of the genres, set in the post-colonial, post-Apartheid, South African town of Marseilles.
It tells a story of the impacts of British colonialism on the psyche of a people robbed of their humanity, the ongoing struggles as they reach adulthood, and puts a focus on the attempts to build a peace in a legacy of violence.
Beautifully shot, framed and paced, it is a slow-burner that ends the only way it can, leaving many in silence and tears. A haunting soundtrack completes the painterly visuals with at times mournful, at times tense auralscapes.
If recent North American stories touching on the impacts of colonialism left you wishing for more, and told from a non-US perspective, this is the film for you. It is a samurai and cowboy story through and through, telling a distinctly South African tale. Its establishing shots will leave you breathless (you really won’t believe the natural juxtapositions presented), and its sound track will send you into a trance.
Catch it on a giant screen if you can, or find a projector and a large enough room for a screening (and the highest resolution video you can get), Five Fingers For Marseilles is an experience not to be missed.