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Pre-Zef Die Antwoord in a strange little film called ‘Picnic’
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Anri, Waddy and their baby Sixteen.
 
Before being drawn to the Zef-side and morphing into Die Antwoord, Ninja and Yolandi were a couple of writers and actors known by their birth names Watkin Tudor Jones and Anri Du Toit. While not as conceptually outrageous as the ultra-freaky and fabulous Die Antwoord, they still managed to create some surreally weird videos and performance pieces for their multi-media project known as Max Normal.

Here’s a faux documentary from 2004, Picnic, directed by “Waddy” Jones and starring Ms. Toit. On the surface, the intent of the film seems to want to present a warmhearted slice-of-life story showing viewers how important family reunions are, psychologically and emotionally. But in Picnic we don’t ever see the family actually bonding, we just hear the steady, chattering, drone of a young girl who is clearly living inside her own head, where memories have perhaps become ghosts. As the music on the soundtrack gets weirder and weirder, the disconnect between the subject and tone of the film takes on a mildly unsettling vibe that feels like a prelude to some bad shit.

Anri Du Toit briefly slips in some Yolandi-like moves at the end when she does a weird little dance.

I’m not sure Picnic works as satire (of reality TV), social commentary, a ghost story or much of anything. I’m not sure what it intends to be. It reminds me a bit of Harmony Korine’s Gummo , which may explain Die Antwoord’s collaboration with Korine in recent years. Whatever it is, there’s little indication in Picnic of the radical imagery and energy to come when Waddy and Anri eventually find The Answer in Zefness. 

Update: DM reader S. Bonelli writes that Picnic is a: “satire of white privileged church going south african society and their normalization of what is correct is actually max freaky - all they needed was to record reality and boom- zef is in it all the way…” This makes a lot of sense to me.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell

 

 

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