Wednesday, 15 August 2007

"Giddily Upbeat," Says The New York Times

As something of a follow-up, we wanted to include a little more about Michael Raeburn and Zimbabwe. In 1991, he made a movie called Jit. (Among its many distinctions, perhaps even beyond the fact that it was the first feature film ever made in Zimbabwe, it is extremely high on the Marquee Letterer And Ladder Shifter's Union Special Achievement Award shortlist of Shortest Film Titles Ever, though nosed out at the finish line by by It).

In any case, not only did Jit serve as the film launch-pad for Oliver Mtukudzi, perhaps Africa's biggest World Music star today, it also was shockingly available in the US at Blockbuster Video. Not, admittedly, perhaps every Blockbuster Video in the entire United States of America, but still....

Just imagine -- there you could be, of a Tuesday night back in the mid-1990s, when people still went to video stores instead of doing all the astonishingly illegal -- and convenient! -- things they do to get their movies today, and you would be trolling the aisles amongst all the other sad Tuesday night consumers with their Burger King bags under their arms, trying to take advantage of Blockbuster's "Three-For-One Tuesday" deal but all the big Hollywood star-laden car-crashing action-comedy just-released-to-video spectaculars are sadly not in evidence on the shelves. And your Burger King bag is starting to drip. To a degree, in fact, that suggests that its structural integrity is about to give way right there on the lush (but stainproof) blue Blockbuster carpeting. So, as an emergency measure you wouldn't take under any other circumstances, you grab -- in addition to Dumb And Dumber II and some movie you chose because Adam Sandler was on the cover, so it must be really funny -- a bright orange-and-green covered box that clashes noisily against Blockbuster's blindingly jaunty yellow-and-blue corporate color scheme) belonging to some movie with the wacky, zany title of Jit.

And "Wacky" it is . And perhaps even "Zany" too, though not in the blockbusting Adam Sandler manner. It's wacky and zany in the sense that the hero of the film, an under-achieving but ambitious striver named UK, is chided and counseled and very actively assisted by a Jukwa, an ancestral spirit, in this case in the form of a beer-chugging granny. It's wacky and zany as well in the sense that somehow, some way, somebody at Blockbuster made a deal to buy just enough VHS tape copies of Jit to make sure the movie actually skidded into the black.

It's not retroactive for 1990, but just to keep you honest here, we've included this link to a highly useful Zimbabwean currency counter, so you can compare your own local shekels to the Zimbabwean Dollar (ZWD) as it floats giddily toward the stratosphere, sort of like the first African Mission to Mars. There are all manners and degrees of wacky and zany, after all. And as long as its not your life savings going down the drain, hey, what could be zanier than the Zimbawean dollar in 2007?

No comments: