Five Fingers for Marseilles
Directed by Michael Matthews. South Africa. 2017. NR. 1 hour 59 minutes. Uncork'd Entertainment. Digital. In Xhosa and Southern Sotho with English subtitles.
Fri., September 21, 2018 thru Thu., September 27, 2018
Near the colonial town of Marseilles in the rugged Eastern Cape of South Africa, a group of rebellious friends dubbed the Five Fingers use well-placed eggs and slingshots to drive off the oppressive police force. But when the cops seize quick-tempered Tau’s childhood love, Lerato, he goes from throwing eggs to shooting bullets. Scared of capture or worse, Tau flees, returning 20 years later to a town, and friends, transformed by the violence caused that day. With the crooked cops now replaced by a caustic gang, Tau must marshal what remains of the Fingers to once again defend their home.
“Steeped in the tradition of the western, Five Fingers for Marseilles subverts the genre by placing the story within the Indigenous community, with the settlers and the divisions brought on by colonialism shown to be the enemy. Gorgeously captured by director of photography Shaun Harley Lee and stylishly helmed by Michael Matthews, the film honours its cinematic forebears while exploring new territory. Following years of consultation with the local community, Five Fingers represents a new style of film production for South Africa while emerging as one of the best westerns of the year and one of 2017’s most compelling debut features.” – Jesse Wente, TIFF
“If Stand By Me were a Western that began in apartheid South Africa, it might look like Five Fingers for Marseilles. That is to say that at the heart of Five Fingers for Marseilles is a story of boyhood friendship. The coming-of-age thread in this tale is cut short when an episode of violence shatters all traces of innocence and sets in motion a rebellion that leaves no party untouched. If Black Panther is a Hollywood reimagining of Africa, then Five Fingers for Marseilles is an African—South African to be precise—reimagining of the Western.” – Keisha Nicole Knight, Maryland Film Festival