Simon Stadler’s Ghostland: The View of the Ju/’Hoansi follows the Ju/’Hoansi of Namibia – who have been legally barred from hunting – as they mesh with the nation’s urban culture and the western culture of Europe.
A major, albeit poorly handled stake in Stadler’s film is the evisceration of the one of the world’s oldest cultures. The film struggles to avoid colonialist perceptions of the Ju/’Hoansi. Although they are respected by the filmmakers, scenes of white tourists taking snapshots of their meetings with the Ju/’Hoansi are uncomfortable reminders of Stadler’s authorial position as a white filmmaker.
The film’s introduction readies us for a heavily politicized documentary. Ghostland: The View of the Ju/’Hoansi shies away from controversy, resulting in an ineffectual final product. Though the filmmakers remain behind the camera, letting the Ju/’Hoansi speak primarily for themselves, Ghostland: The View of the Ju/’Hoansi too often feels ideologically neutered, especially given the thematized culture shock that permeates its running length.
Ghostland: The View of the Ju/’Hoansi provides some exposure to the Ju/’Hoansi, but a weak political standpoint compromises the film’s integrity.
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Mark Barber: @WorstCinephile