Monday, August 09, 2004

Stander


Waar is jou snor Meneer? Posted by Hello

Sherwood Forest's African branch

Those two mad drivers weaving out of 1970s Johannesburg traffic, roaring down the white line as if it were a whites-only world? They're policemen, one of whom - the celebrated Andre Stander - will make a hard turn into a life of crime, a legendary career and, as it turns out, a very exciting movie.

Thomas Jane, whose better- known features include (gulp) "Dreamcatcher," "The Sweetest Thing" and most recently, "The Punisher," is a first-rate robber of the rich and repressive as Stander, who enjoys storied bandit status in South Africa. Like most cops, Stander is assigned to riot control in the apartheid-oppressed townships. When he's forced to kill a protesting black villager, it destroys what little faith he has in the tyrannical system and compels him to rob banks, don elaborate disguises and, at least once, hit the same bank twice in one day.

Review

FORTUNATE SON
Thomas Jane and the banality of Hollywood evil.

By Armond White

STANDER IS FUN mostly for watching Thomas Jane climb the rock wall of movie stardom. He flexes muscle and conscience playing Andre Stander, the youngest captain in the Johannesburg police force, who loyally participated in quelling the 1976 Soweto uprising. Police riot squads had killed several students among the many protestors they clubbed and gassed; the politically ambivalent Stander, feeling guilt-ridden about this display of oppressive brutality, rebelled perversely. In an unexpected turnabout, he became a near-legendary bank robber. On trial three years later, Stander noted the irony of his career path and commented, "I'm charged for robbing banks but [as a cop] I have killed unarmed people."

Taking anti-heroic opposition to the apartheid system, Stander's self-serving style of civil disobedience illustrates the way some white South Africans passively disdained their social status. A movie that goes along with Stander's "rebellion" might appear to sanction his weak-principled haughtiness. The same covert egotism rules from Hollywood to Johannesburg. Yet seeing Thomas Jane maneuver around this problem helps expose the inherently racist narcissism that's at the root of such mainstream movie fiction as The Bourne Supremacy and Collateral, movies in which actors celebrate killers without conscience.

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Stander has been waiting to be made for some twenty years, its screenplay having been written by Bima Stagg shortly after South African cop-turned-robber Andre Stander was gunned down in a February 1984 shootout with Fort Lauderdale police. (If this is giving away the ending to the film, so be it -- or perhaps you thought Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were going to dance unharmed between the hailstorm of bullets at the end of Bonnie and Clyde, in which case, all apologies.) Writer Bima Stagg lived in South Africa in the 1980s and fully digested the myth of Stander, subject there of at least one play (Stander Lives) and several books that both celebrated and denigrated his rep as that country's Robin Hood and Clyde Barrow, a good guy who became a bad guy only after having his fill of his fellow officers' cruelty and corruption. Stander, in death but even well before, became larger than life among the whites from whom he brazenly stole without ever firing a shot and the blacks to whom he represented the ultimate anti-authoritarian figure, the hell-raising copper. There are even those in Johannesburg who believe he is still alive and wandering the streets -- Elvis as stick-up artist.

Over the years, many directors have been attached to the project, including Barbet Schroeder, but all passed until it landed in the lap of the most unlikely candidate, Bronwen Hughes, a Canadian best known for her benignly winsome, Nickelodeon-produced adaptation of Harriet the Spy in 1996 and the screwed-up screwball would-be comedy Forces of Nature with Sandra Bullock and Ben Affleck three years later. Nothing on her tiny filmography suggested she had within her the vision and might to make something as remarkable as Stander, which fuses the wrenching immediacy of Paul Greengrass's Bloody Sunday with the dark humor of Bonnie and Clyde and the breezy pacing of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Yet the movie, with its shifts in tone (from the polemic to the comic) and contrasts in colors (the brown 1970s brighten as we enter the 1980s), has its own identity. Unlike, say, Barry Levinson's Bandits, another movie in which kindly bank robbers don disguises that look as if they've been pilfered from a costume shop along the escape route, Stander doesn't have the dusty feel of pastiche.

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Stander (2003)

Directed by
Bronwen Hughes

Writing credits (in alphabetical order)
Bima Stagg

Cast (in credits order)
Thomas Jane >> Andre Stander
Ashley Taylor >> Deventer
David O'Hara >> Allan Heyl
Dexter Fletcher >> Lee McCall
Deborah Unger >> Bekkie Stander
Marius Weyers >> Gen. Stander
At Botha >> Gen. Viljoen
Lionel Newton >> Desk Sgt. Smit
Melanie Merle >> Sharmaine
Hannes Muller >> Jan Wortmann
Shaeleen Tobin >> Grace Wortmann
Sean Else >> Asst. Det. Ed Janis
Peter Gardner >> Allums
Patrick Mynhardt >> Judge
Wikus du Toit >> Lawyer
Drummond Marais >> Prosecutor
Nicole Abel >> Young Lady in Bar
Waldemar Schultz >> Cop at accident
Emgee Pretorius >> Wedding Judge
James Borthwick >> Vorster/Det. Groot
Graham Clarke >> Riot general
Andre Stolz >> Armourer
Robin Smith >> Loudspeaker colonel
Allan Bevolo >> Riot Cop 1
Jacques Gombault >> Rot cop #2
Anton Dekker >> Colonel
Dirk Stoltz >> Cop at slum apartment
Neels Coetzee >> Drunk
Lynn Hooker >> Elderly woman
Iain Paton >> Macho Teller
Ben Kruger >> Bank guard
Thomas Ramabu >> Sunglasses Hawker
Diaan Lawrenson >> Female Bank Teller
Duncan Lawson >> Techie
Paul Luckhoff >> Suspect
Cassidy Coombs >> Kidnapped Child
Anel Olsson >> Bank Teller
Steven Raymond >> Prisoner 1
Chris Steyn >> Prisoner #2
George Moolman >> Male nurse
Andrew Thompson >> Farmboy
Val Donald-Bell >> Nurse
Moshoeshoe Chabeli >> Harold
Ron Smerczak >> Wild Coast cop
Clive Scott >> Bank officer
John Lesley >> Old man
Shafa'ath-Ahmad Khan >> Indian tailor
Graham Hopkins >> Porsche salesman
Paul Ditchfield >> Bank manager
Chris Buchanan >> Lane
Ben Horowitz >> Mark Jennings
Charlotte Butler >> Marlene Henn
Matt Stern >> Celebrity Spotter
Kerry Hiles >> Tweaked Customer
Duncan Harling >> Airport Cop
Mawongo Tyawa >> Zulu
Fats Bookholane >> Itano
Paul Slabolepszy >> Politico
Justin Strydom >> House Dick
Ferdinand Rabie >> Barrier Cop
Dan Robbertse >> Onlooker #1
Errol Ballentine >> Onlooker 2
Shane Howarth >> Airport Cop
Tessa Jubber >> Florida Girl
Gert White >> Frat Boy 1
Denton Douglas >> Frat Boy 2
Neil Coppen >> Blonde God
Tyrone Akal >> Mustang Kid
Zaa Nkweta >> Black officer
David Dukas >> White officer

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i wasn't in the movie as "cop at accident", there was a scheduling problem (twice) and the scene was shifted to a day i wasn't available... dunno who did it eventually...

w schultz

6:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Help me Dude, I'm lost.

I was searching for Elvis and somehow ended up in your blog, but you know I'm sure I saw Elvis in the supermarket yesterday.

No honest really, he was right there in front of me, next to the steaks singing "Love me Tender".

He said to me (his lip was only slightly curled) "Boy, you need to get yourself a shiny, new plasmatv to go with that blue suede sofa of yours.

But Elvis said I, In the Ghetto nobody has a plasma tv .

Dude I'm All Shook Up said Elvis. I think I'll have me another cheeseburger then I'm gonna go home and ask Michael Jackson to come round and watch that waaaay cool surfing scene in Apocalypse Now on my new plasma tv .

And then he just walked out of the supermarket singing. . .

"You give me love and consolation,
You give me strength to carry on "

Strange day or what? :-)

1:15 AM  
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