Bunny Chow John Barker

Bunny chow is a favourite treat in Johannesburg; it’s a loaf of white bread with its guts pulled out and stuffed with a spicy mix of meat and vegetables. Bunny chow is meant to be shared and eaten by hand; it’s an altogether appropriate metaphor for this first feature from South African writer-director Barker. Bunny Chow’s documentary flow follows an aspiring stand-up comedian (played by co-writer David Kibuuka) and his wacky chums as they tool around Johannesburg and up into the hills to the annual rock festival Oppikoppi. They are black, white, Afrikaner, Muslim, South Asian, Chinese — the film is a funky, freestyle introduction to the city and its mixed-up, mixed-media, mixed-race scene. Shot in monochrome tones, it’s not quite black and white, but it’s not colour either, and the visual treatment helps establish Jo’burg and the actors as characters in the process of finding their identities in a world in motion. Given the film’s improvised feel, the narrative is a little too loose and the ending a little too pat, but it’s nonetheless an entertaining dispatch from the new South Africa. (Dogpack)