The post-heroism of Stuur Groete aan Mannetjies Roux and Verraaiers
Keywords:Afrikaner nationalism, atemporality, Bosbok Ses Films, parapraxis, post-heroism, Stuur groete aan Mannetjies Roux, Verraaiers
AbstractThere is much scholarship on the linkages between Afrikaner nationalism and South African (Afrikaans-language) filmmaking. Within the context of a sustained post-apartheid renegotiation of Afrikaans or Afrikaner nationalism in the popular imagination, in this article we argue that two feature film historical dramas from the production company Bosbok Ses Films, Stuur groete aan Mannetjies Roux (2013) and Verraaiers (2013), resonate thematically and aesthetically with Thomas Elsaesser’s notion of post-heroic cinema. While a number of pre-1994 Afrikaans-language films celebrated Afrikaner nationalism as personified in the figure of the hero, this article positions and uses Elsaesser’s post-heroism as a critical lens through which to demonstrate the ways in which these two films call attention to a post-hero whose actions and behaviour (often inadvertently) renders a productive renegotiating of the hero figure within a post-apartheid cinematic context. To supplement Elsaesser, we also draw on Johan Degenaar’s writing on political pluralism. In this article, we find that an Elsaesserian post-heroic approach to the two films allows the following constitutive components of post-heroic cinema to surface: atemporality as opposed to linear narrative time, parapraxis (productive failure) as opposed to traditional iterations of heroic acts and valour, and conceiving of the film screen as a surface in flux as opposed to the screen as a mirror. The article’s contribution to existing scholarship on contemporary Afrikaans-language cinema is three-fold: it is the first to utilise an Elsaesserian approach to Afrikaans film and as such to foreground and investigate the figure of the post-hero, it provides a critical account of two independently-made feature films that remain under-researched in current South African film scholarship, and it contributes to discourse around the ways in which popular media inform and respond to the renegotiation of Afrikaans (or Afrikaans) identity.
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