Soldiers of the Rock | Chicago Reader

Soldiers of the Rock

An economics student on holiday (Vuyo Dabula) signs on as a short-term digger for the South African gold mine where his father died in a rock fall. Most of his coworkers treat him with suspicion and mockery, but his financial skill helps him to forge an unlikely friendship with one of them, a former petty criminal who dreams of starting his own mine. Their plan meets resistance from another miner, a charismatic bully who adheres to tribal warrior rites but knuckles under to white imperialism. Aside from the mawkish final reel, this 2003 debut feature by Norman Maake is realistic and remarkably assured, its tight framing and dynamic composition reinforcing the tension and claustrophobia underground. In English and subtitled Tsotsi Taal, Zulu, and Xhosa. 94 min.

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