“Who wants to see a comedy, featuring an African bushman as the main character?” you ask. An African bushman of all people? Obviously you haven’t seen The Gods Must Be Crazy (1980). This comedy, which is both farce and slapstick, turns our view of the world upside down. In this one, the natives aren’t restless. They are doing just fine until the gods drop an empty Coke bottle out of the sky. It calls into question a lot of things we normally take for granted. Things like religion, ownership and civilization. And the difficulty of getting from here to there by truck.
Using a documentary style, the movie tells the story of what happens when Xi, a Kalahari bushman, sees a Coke bottle fall out of the sky and takes it home. After all, it came from the sky and it must be a gift from the gods. Soon the bush people are fighting over it. Xi realizes this is not good. So he tries to get rid of it. But the darn thing just won’t go away. It just won’t go away. What to do? What to do? Nothing but head off to the edge of the world to throw the evil object away.
Meanwhile in another part of Africa, a young woman tells her parents she wants to go off to the Kalahari and be a teacher. They are not happy but there is no stopping her.
And Xi just keeps on doing what Xi and his people have always done, live in harmony with the natural world. When a baboon gets a the bottle, Xi convinces him that it is a bad thing. The baboon returns the bottle to Xi, convinced he had better get rid of it as fast as he can.
The priest in charge of the school where the girl is to teach asks his biologist friend to pick the teacher up. The biologist just happens to be the pilot who threw the Coke bottle out of the plane window. You’d think the trip to pick up the teacher and bring her back to the school would be an easy peasy. The biologist and his truck have one hell of a time getting to her. The trip is a slapstick affair. But this is the bush country of Africa. What else can you expect? Oh, and one final thing. The truck’s brakes are shot.
Just when the biologist thinks things can’t get any slapsticker, there’s the return trip with the teacher to the school, and things do get slapsticker. Thanks to a warthog and a rhino. It ain’t pretty when a naked white man in his red shorts runs through the jungle with a warthog after him and his name isn’t Tarzan. Talk about the worse beginning for a romantic relationship between a biologist and a teacher, this is one of the worst. It can’t get any worse, or can it?
Since the film has a documentary element, we learn so many helpful things. For instance, the rhino is the fire prevention officer of the jungle. I know it sounds crazy but it’s true. It’s not a good idea to stand and try to stop an armored car all by your lonesome when it’s chasing some bad guys. Just how do you get a truck out of a tree. Why are women always impressed with a guy who has a better car?-
Does Xi get rid of the evil Coke bottle? Does the biologist win over the teacher? Do the gods leave Coke bottles for bushmen to find?