Dec 5, 2012

SMS Sugar Man

Undoubtedly, you know a nation has decisively degenerated for the worse when the formerly subjugated and disenfranchised are buggering the women of their ex-masters or so such is the case in South African auteur Aryan Kaganof (born Ian Kerkhof) most recent film SMS Sugar Man (2008); a work about a white pimp who sells vanilla chocolate to dark chocolate throughout Johannesburg's shadowy hotels. A true auteur piece, this work with a thumping theme of perennial loneliness was written, directed, edited by and starring Kaganof in the lead title role as the “sugar man,” the film's wandering whoremongering anti-hero is a deep-voiced and masculine yet intellectually mundane and materialistic man who lives by the rather redundant yet personally effective philosophy: “Women are sugars. Men are wallets. Money is god. Life is very simple.” Set over the course of a positively paranoid Christmas Eve, things ultimately get a tad bit burdensome for the Sugar Man and his hot ho ho hoes when a rival seeks to dip his hand in his candy jar.  Equipped with a bizarre love triangle of individuals who sell and turn tricks, SMS Sugar Man is a love story for the unloved and seemingly unlovable.  Shot solely on a mere Sony Ericsson W900i Mobile Phone, SMS Sugar Man is in fact the first feature-length work directed with a cellphone, which despite seeming like a rather grandiose, if not oftentimes visually grating, gimmick, makes for quite an effective tool for the gritty yet ghetto-glamorous setting in a risqué realm where communication seems to be a sacred lost art, or at least that is the only thing one can conclude from the mélange of unmerry misconnections and misinformation disseminated throughout the film. Nothing out of the ordinary for South-Afrikan-garde auteur Kaganof, he was also the first filmmaker to shoot a feature-length work, Wasted! (1996) aka Naar de klote! in the DV tape format. As the filmmaker is unwilling to make artistic compromises with anyone, including with the production company DV8 Films that produced his latest film, and with which the filmmaker was in a dragged out legal battle (the company wanted the director to make changes to the finished film), the release of SMS Sugar Man was quite belated as the work was made in December 2005 yet not released until sometime in 2008. In a festive mode, I decided to give Kaganof’s salacious and seedy Xmas special a serious viewing to get in the spirit for egg nog and nig-nogs.

As someone who left his native country South Africa for the Netherlands in 1983 to avoid being conscripted into the Apartheid-era army, and working at the Dutch Anti-Apartheid Movement (AABN) from 1983 to 1986 as a researcher/activist of sorts, only to return in 1999 to finally meet his biological father and change his name (originally born and directing as Ian Kerkhof and unchristening himself "Aryan Kaganof"), Aryan Kaganof has certainly witnessed the dramatic changes of his socially shifting homeland in his lifetime. Admittedly, SMS Sugar Man is far from the sort of race-mixing melodrama that I would have expected to have been directed by someone who actively fought against apartheid, thereupon leading me to believe that Kaganof has a much more thoughtful and honest view of South African race relations, not unlike satirical Afrikaner comic artist Anton Kannemeyer (aka “Joe Dog”) – who while working with blackface and stereotypes of blacks as unsalvageable savages, also portrays the stereotypes of the wretched mainstream ‘white liberal’ – as the film portrays an unsavory underworld that acts as a metaphor for post-apartheid Africa as a whole; a country where the former subservient blacks are now subjugating their former subjugators. Interestingly enough, many of the Bantu clients in SMS Sugar Man, for a variety reasons including disdain for father and assumed impotence, don’t actually screw the seductive and sensuous sallow sluts that they have bought with their carnal currency. In fact, one of the sapless jigaboo johns is merely satisfied with having one the of saucy streetwalkers jumping up and down on the bed thereupon mimicking the sounds of heated copulation, while he – fully dressed and nowhere near the voluptuous, lecherous lady – tells his friend on the phone, like a shameless braggart that, “she’s loving it, sweet white bitch” in a shallow and doubly impotent display of his schmaltzy power to buy corrupt crack cunts. Indeed, the myth of negro sexual virility is nowhere to be found in SMS Sugar Man and the only true “pimp” as the more learned brothers like to say is the Sugar Man; a dangerous yet dedicated Don Juan that keeps his bitches in check and has even sired a son with one of these sweet yet sour sugars.

Knowing Kaganof’s previous cinematic efforts, I honestly thought it was dubious how SMS Sugar Man would play out, especially with the Afrikan Aryan auteur himself as the fierce flesh-peddler, yet the flagrant filmmaker does the seemingly impossible, especially as far as I am concerned as a hater of silverseen whore-hawking anti-heros as seen on MTV, by playing a posolutely palatable, personable and even pleasing pimp. Naturally, being a work that was shot on a consumer grade cellphone camera – a feature generally used by teenage girls to sext salacious shots to their 35-year old gym teachers and by mindless middle-class folks to film their elderly dogs haphazardly humping furniture – the film does feature its fair share of aesthetically unpleasing pixilation, but this ultimately adds to the lavishly stylized sleaze that is SMS Sugar Man, so much so that the 'digital dark' is surely more effective in Kaganof's low-budget work than it was in David Lynch's aesthetically daunting dance in digital diarrhea Inland Empire (2006). If I learn anything more about the director after watching this film, it is that few other modern filmmakers have shown such a keen particular propensity at reinventing their aesthetic, style, and canvas; a seemingly damning and disorderly filmmaking approach with which Kaganof seems to work best.  Showing he is no proponent of so-called 'affirmative action' nor does he back slave-morality, Kagnof stated of SMS Sugar Man to a newspaper: "It has really disappointed me that none of the reviews (of the movie) to date has picked up on what I think is a major theme: the way the strategy of BEE (Black Economic Empowerment) serves to emasculate black men, to in fact deny them the very thing it claims to give them. Power cannot be given, it must be exerted."  Indeed, the Sugar Man may dip his dick in the same honeypots as his jigga johns, but he also has sovereignty over his saccharine seductresses, which cannot be said of the pitiful pickaninnies that buy them.

-Ty E


eddie lydecker said...

The geezer in the last picture looks like that worthless British filth Vinnie Jones.

steve prefontaine said...

Your racist bullshit to one side, its nice to see a Christmassy film on this site, but i was hoping for some more well-known Christmas 'horror classics' as opposed to this ludicrously obscure nonsense.

teddy crescendo said...

So-called 'Sexting' is quite magnificent because it represents the beginning of 'children' literally taking over their own child-porn industry (as i`ve said they ultimately will very often on this site). Technology is absolutely marvellous because its giving sex back to the people and bringing "THE TIME OF SEXUAL REPRESSION" to a thankful and merciful end.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Its great to see that you used the word 'buggering' (as opposed to the word 'fucking'), you`re finally realising that heterosexual buggery represents "the future" and vaginal penetration very much represents "the past".

Anonymous said...

Just following on from my previous com-girl-t, it was interesting reading what you said about the technical aspects of this film and how it was made. Its becoming so easy to record images now, anytime anywhere (especially sexual images of course), and its specifically children who will embrace that new freedom perhaps more than anyone else ! ! !. I REST MY CASE.