The trailer for Sean Penn’s The Last Face, which filmed in Cape Town last year, has dropped and it’s gorgeous. The cinematography, the landscapes, the lighting.
But again, once again, we see Africa being used as Hollywood shorthand for “brutal basketcase”. The good white guys are in peril. The black guys so faceless, some of them even wear masks. I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently – particularly around the need to change the narrative on what Africa is and how we are in this vibrant, diverse continent. The way we are portrayed on film is hugely important: recent studies have shown that just one minute of film has the same communications impact as 1.8 Million Words – equivalent to 3,600 typical web pages. What that means is: if you write an average of one web page an hour, it would take you 300 days of writing to just MATCH the impact of this two minute trailer and its disasterporn messages of African dysfunction, let alone to counter its arguments…… 300 days. Makes you think.