Words by Ntokozo Kunene. First published on www.arisemagazine.net
The Bang Bang Club is the eponymous cinematic tale of four heroic photojournalists, as tragic and controversial as the atrocities they documented. Based on the autobiographical book, The Bang Bang Club: Snapshots from Hidden War by Greg Marinovich and João Silva, the film explores the relationship between four men, set against the backdrop of the rising tensions in South African townships, as apartheid fell and the country moved towards democratization. "It was important to me that the story was not about apartheid, not about South Africa," says director Steven Silver, "It was about four young white men ... and the choices they made." A departure from the‘ victims story’, the film is told through the lenses of the four journalists, Greg Marinovich, Ken Oosterbroek, João Silva, and Kevin Carter - who won the Pulitzer Prize for the notorious photograph of the emaciated Sudanese toddler and the nearby vulture, raising the moral discussion on the inaction of photographers as they visually recorded various acts of violence and brutality. However it is clear from the film, starring Ryan Phillipe, Taylor Kitsch, Frank Rauntenbauch and Neels Van Jaarsveld that the only objective of these four men was to expose the truth and bring to light this turbulent period in South Africa, to the world.