The Gods Must Be Crazy is a 1980 comedy film written, produced, edited and directed by Jamie Uys. An international co-production of South Africa and Botswana, it is the first film in The Gods Must Be Crazy series. Set in Southern Africa, the film stars Namibian San farmer Nǃxau ǂToma as Xi, a hunter-gatherer of the Kalahari Desert whose tribe discovers a glass Coca-Cola bottle dropped from an airplane, and believe it to be a gift from their gods. When Xi sets out to return the bottle to the gods, his journey becomes intertwined with that of a biologist (Marius Weyers), a newly hired village school teacher (Sandra Prinsloo), and a band of guerrilla terrorists.
Xi and his San tribe[a] live happily in the Kalahari Desert, away from industrial civilization. One day, a glass Coca-Cola bottle is thrown out of an airplane by a pilot and falls to the ground unbroken. Initially, Xi's people assume the bottle to be a gift from their gods, just as they believe plants and animals are, and find many uses for it. Unlike other gifts, however, there is only one glass bottle, which causes unforeseen conflict within the tribe. As a result, Xi, wearing only a loincloth, decides to make a pilgrimage to the edge of the world and dispose of the divisive object.
Both New York Times critic Vincent Canby and author Josef Gugler called the film "patronizing" towards the San people. Canby wrote that the San in the film "are seen to be frightfully quaint if not downright cute", and compared the film's narrator's statement that the San "must be the most contented people in the world" to "exactly the sort of thing that Mussolini might have said when he got those trains running on time." Gugler considered both the film's narrator and the character of Mpudi condescending, writing that "even if Mpudi feels for the San people, he is just as patronizing as the narrator: 'They are the sweetest little buggers.'" In response to accusations of patronization, Uys said that "I don't think the film is patronizing. When the Bushman is with us in the city, I do patronize him, because he's stupid. But in the desert, he patronizes me, because I'm stupid and he's brilliant."
The film begins in the Kalahari Desert. A pilotin a private plane throws his empty Coke bottle out of the window. It landsnear a Bushman who is on a hunting expedition. He has never seen anything likeit before. He takes it back to his tribe, where it is put to dozens of uses: Itbecomes a musical instrument, a patternmaker, a fire starter, a cookingutensil, and, most of all, an object of bitter controversy. Everybody in thetribe ends up fighting over the bottle, and so the Bushman, played by the Xhosaactor N!xau (the exclamation point represents a click), decides there is onlyone thing to do: He must return the bottle to the gods. This decision sends himon a long odyssey toward more settled lands on the edges of the desert, wherethe movie develops into a somewhat more conventional comedy.
The star of the movie is N!xau, who is soforthright and cheerful and sensible that his very presence makes some of thegags pay off. In any slapstick comedy, the gags must rest on a solid basis oflogic: It's not funny to watch people being ridiculous, but it is funny towatch people doing the next logical thing, and turning out to be ridiculous.N!xau, because he approaches Western society without preconceptions, and basesall of his actions on logical conclusions, brings into relief a lot of thelittle tics and assumptions of everyday life. I think that reveals the thoughtthat went into this movie: It might be easy to make a farce about screwballhappenings in the desert, but it's a lot harder to create a funny interactionbetween nature and human nature. This movie's a nice little treasure.
Once upon a time, not long ago, there was a tribe of Bushmen in the Kalahari Desert who lived in harmony with each other and with the harsh environment. Then, one day, an empty Coca-Cola bottle (the classic heavy glass style) falls from the sky. We, the viewers, can see it came from an airplane, but as far as the tribe is concerned, it came from the gods.
N!xau's popularity had him being cast in a series of comedies made by a Hong Kong company in which, rather than being called Xi Xo, he goes by his real name. Although never intended to be sequels to the original film (as the titles and plots of the films were entirely different), they were eventually released under "The gods must be crazy", added with a sequel number. The original Chinese title of the fifth film even translates to "The Gods must be funny in China" as a nod to the original film. Let's just say that these films were quite different from the original ones:
When a tribe of African bushman find a piece of litter thrown from a plane, they assume it must be a gift from the Gods. That is until the soda-pop bottle starts to cause all kinds of trouble within their social order. But when Xixo (N!xau) decides to return the offering (by throwing it off the end of the Earth), he runs into even more problems -- in the form of civilized man.
Specifically, the films show how we have become increasingly dehumanized by allowing the machines to dominate us. In other words, we have become complacent stupefied automatons in our everyday lives. We are increasingly losing touch with not only Nature but our inner nature. Stupefied bordering on stupid. The Gods Must Be Crazy (1980) when it was released in the United States in 1984 achieved the highest box office ever for a foreign film (it was subsequently passed by Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). The film satirizes western civilization's overdependence on technology, yet The Gods' tone is never severe, dogmatic, or apocalyptic. Indeed, we could better serve it by creating a different category, like "civilization versus noncivilization" movie, as it points out the dangers of being overcivilized and of humans having lost their better instincts. Into the camp of Kalahari desert natives, the !Kung (in their language an exclamation point refers to a click of the tongue while the word is pronounced), drops a Coke bottle, the ultimate symbol of our civilization's productivity and waste. The narrator says that it is the hardest object they have ever found. The group finds many uses for it and gets great happiness from those uses. They deem the bottle a gift from the gods.
Who are these "gods"? They are the ones who soar above the desert and create jet streams in the sky. The gods are mysterious and almost unknowing. We never get a theological perspective from the Bushmen. It is hard to say how much the gods are respected. The gods are us. As long as we remain unknown to the natives, our reputation as being larger than life (the !Kung's life) remains solid. When do things go wrong with the gift from above? The native band finds the bottle too useful. Everyone wants it for different tasks and fight for possession. This causes the adults and children alike to have emotions like envy and selfishness they had never experienced. They feel a shame analogous to Adam and Eve's after eating the apple. However, they preserve their innocence by casting the bottle out of their paradise. This becomes only way to evade the technological trap. The !Kung leader, Xi (N!xau), initially tries to solve the coke bottle problem by throwing the bottle back into the sky and nearly clunks himself on the head. After a tribal council, he resolves to take it to and throw it over the edge of the earth. The removal of this original sin is possible because the group's small size allows it to detect more quickly and unequivocally the noxious aspect of this godsend.
The San tribe has everything they need and the gods are fair to them until the Coca-Cola bottle threatens this unity (Uys, scene 18, 1980). The journey to return the Coca-Cola bottle ends up with a long search for two sons who boarded a water track belonging to poachers. Xi displays his survival skills to the modernized parties and the film ends with a happy reunion between father and his two sons.
The cultural patterns in the San tribe directly affect their communication. Being a relatively primitive society, they seem to worship the sky and believe that the jet lanes in the sky are roads made by the gods who were very kind to drop for them a Coca-Cola bottle.
This symbolizes the blessings and protection from the gods and must be celebrated. In addition, the San clan believed that they are the only human being on that world and Xi reacts very strangely and assumes that the people he met outside the San clan are actually gods who seemed comparatively huge and had road vehicles. 2b1af7f3a8