By Mr. Ngaihte (14 Dec 2009)
Kayelitsha, South-Africa, today. 2003 A township, close to Cape-town, after the end of Apartheid. Two kids, 14, Madiba and Sipho play along the railway. A train passes by. A dead man rolls to their feet. On him, they find a gun and a video camera. Sipho takes the gun and Madiba the camera. Their destiny is sealed. Benny, their friend makes a wooden camera and Madiba hides the video inside, in order to avoid embarrassing questions, racketing etc. He starts filming the township and its inhabitants. He discovers the strange beauty of his life's setting. Sipho, the boss, brings his friends to Cape-town, the white city, so close, so far, so exotic to the eyes of the children. While Sipho forms a gang with the street children and makes all kinds of illicit trading, Madiba films the town, its huge buildings, its business life, and its luxury. In a bookstore, he films a young white girl, stealing a book. They look at each other. Going out of the store, she drops book on road, knowing he will pick it up. In it she has written a message. Estelle belongs to a traditional Cape-townian white family. Her father is a famous doctor. Comfortable life. Prejudices not really questioned by the change of regime. Estelle is dying to breathe the air of the new times. Her family doesn't allow her to do so. She rebels, between a few lessons of music given by Mr. Shawn, an old humanist who makes no difference between Blacks and Whites. He teaches in townships and has done so since the days of Apartheid. Estelle thinks of Madiba, this funny boy, with his strange camera and his apparent sensibility. Sipho who is now addicted to glue as much as to street trafficking, becomes the chief of his small gang. Madiba films incessantly. He dreams also of this young white girl who has held out her hand to him. They meet again some days later, and slowly a strong friendship starts between them. From the first steps of a young cinematographer who changes the perception of his township to the tragic end of Sipho, the good-hearted bad boy, THE WOODEN CAMERA tells the story of a friendship between two kids, not understood by their parents who refuse what seems to them like a compromise with the enemy. It will take all the determination of the kids and the intelligence of Mr. Shawn, who knows that music has no colour, to give a chance to the impossible. Sipho commits a hold-up and is shot dead, while Madiba & Estelle try to find their way into the future through art and love.