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‘Africa’ gets blasted by local critics

American helmer Hudson criticized for cliched characters

JOHANNESBURG — It was shot in South Africa, used a South African crew and an array of South African actors, but American director Hugh Hudson’s “I Dreamed of Africa” has left many South Africans cringing in embarrassment.

Released in the country last Friday, the movie, starring Kim Basinger, serves up, per one critic, “every tired colonial cliche you can imagine.”

The critic and newspaper personality Barry Ronge lambasted Hudson for casting Africans either in servile roles or as poachers and hijackers.

“They’re not people, they’re local color, and form the backdrop against which Kuki Gallmann can do good deeds and show them the right Western way to do things,” Ronge wrote.

The movie centers around the life of Gallmann, a woman who left her privileged life in Europe to settle on a broken-down farm in Kenya.

Other critics were equally scathing of the movie: “The movie’s best forgotten,” said newspaper critic William Pretorius. “Perhaps it’s lucky that (South Africa’s) standing in for Kenya so we don’t have to feel too embarrassed.”

Said yet another critic: “The best solution is to get our own movie industry so we can show what local talent can do.”

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