Last night, after another week of the children, myself, Kris, and some of the other teachers of the school ventured to watch Chappie. To the majority of the teachers, it was simply an interesting depiction of what could happen if artificial intelligence could develop into artificial consciousness. To Kris and I, it was a welcome glimpse into our home on the other side of the world.
The story is set in 2016 Johannesburg, our home town. I shan’t spoil the story, because I think it is a movie well worth your time. Go out and experience it – Neil Blomkamp’s style continues to be like no other director. The incredibly zef atmosphere created by everything from the casting of Ninja and Yolandi from Die Antwoord in prominent roles, to the set design filled with neon and cutesy sitting next to loaded, golden machine guns makes for a unique experience. While it is not a perfect film, it will certainly make you feel something, or various things, which makes it worthwhile.
What Kris and I arguably enjoyed the most about the film was the city it was set in. There was never more than a couple of minutes between Kristen or myself leaning to the poor soul next to us, saying “That highway is the road I took to varsity everyday.” or “That is only about 5 kilometers from my house.” It gave us a sense of being home whilst being 18 hours away. We waltzed out of the movie, feeling a strange combination of homesick and certain of where our home truly is. Dongtan may be where we are now, but Johannesburg is still where our hearts lie. It is where our families are. Our best friends. Our favourite restaurants. Where we grew up. Where we met. Where we fell in love.
While we may be away, there is certainly a part of us still strolling the streets of our city. Not at night, because the part of us is still concerned for its safety, but during the day, in the sunshine. And we’ll be reunited with this part of ourselves before we know it.