The Wooden Camera

  • 90'
  • South Africa
  • 2003
It is just after the end of apartheid, in Capetown. A young black boy and his friend are hanging out by the rail tracks, a man falls from the train, dead. From his attaché case, one of the boys picks up a video camera, the other finds a gun. Their futures are shaped by this chance encounter - and The Wooden Camera by inter-weaving their lives contrasts and highlights their choices. Madiba hides his camera inside a wooden box and starts to film his township, his drunken father, the city through which they roam. Sipho becomes a gang leader, and although the two stay friends their ways begin to part. Madiba meets the rebellious young daughter of a rich and reactionary white doctor and they become unlikely friends. Sipho however gets into glue sniffing and is tragically killed.This is the second feature by the young black South African director Ntshavheni Wa Luruli: his first was the charming and quirky Chikin Bizness. The Wooden Camera has a similar lightness of touch to his first feature along with an ability to portray the realities of life for South Africans on both sides of the tracks. His young lead actor gives a strong and enchanting performance as Madiba, a boy struggling to lead his own life and see the world afresh while surviving under all the physical and mental pressure of town-ship life. [S.F.]
Ntshaveni Wa Luruli
European premiere
Countries of production
South Africa, France, United Kingdom
Production Year
Festival Edition
IFFR 2004
Olivier Delahaye
Fortissimo Films
Peter Speyer
Gordon Spooner
Local Distributor
A-Film Distribution