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    SUBJECTS — World/Africa;
    SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING — Romantic Relationships;
    Age: 9+; MPAA Rating -- PG ; Comedy; 1984; 109 minutes; Color; Available from Amazon.com.

    Description:     A Coke bottle dropped from an airplane disrupts the quiet life of a family of African Bushmen (the San people) living in the deep isolation of the Kalahari desert. Xi, the head of the family, takes the evil thing and embarks on a journey to the end of the world to return it to the gods. At the same time, a white teacher is fed up with city life and takes a job in Botswana. She meets a shy and bumbling scientist. Their adventures and misadventures are intertwined with Xi's journey.

    Benefits of the Movie:     The viewer is allowed to see himself from the Bushman's point of view and is introduced to their culture. The movie will provide an opportunity to discuss the Bushman society and societies like it, as well as the Kalahari desert.

    This hilarious film also contains much information about Africa as well as beautiful photography of its landscape, its skies and its animals.

    Possible Problems:    MINIMAL. There is a mild amount of profanity. The school teacher's dress is wet through, displaying her body and she is shown in her underwear. The scenes are innocent and not sexually suggestive. The film glosses over the many hardships of Bushman life, which simply wears them out so that most don't reach the age of 50 years. It has been charged that this film is racist in its condescension toward the Bushmen. While certain parts of the opening narration support this view, overall the film presents Bushman society in a positive light.

    Parenting Points:     Ask and help your child to answer the Quick Discussion Question for this film and the Quick Discussion Question for "The Gods Must Be Crazy - II". Show your child or class, on a globe or a map, the Kalahari, Zimbabwe and Botswana.


Benefits of the Movie
Possible Problems
Parenting Points
Selected Awards & Cast
Helpful Background
Discussion Questions:
      Subjects (Curriculum Topics)
      Social-Emotional Learning
      Moral-Ethical Emphasis
            (Character Counts)
Bridges to Reading
Links to the Internet
Assignments, Projects & Activities

WORKSHEETS: TWM offers the following worksheets to keep students' minds on the movie and direct them to the lessons that can be learned from the film. Teachers can modify the worksheets to fit the needs of each class. Movies as Literature Homework Project.

    Selected Awards, Cast and Director:

      Selected Awards:  1983 Montreal World Film Festival: Most Popular Film.

      Featured Actors:  N!xau, Marius Weyers, Sandra Prinsloo, Louw Verwey, Jamie Uys, Michael Thys, Nic de Jager.

      Director:  James Uys.
  QUICK DISCUSSION QUESTION:   Why does Xi think that Ms. Thompson, the teacher, is an ugly looking hag?

Suggested Response: He told us
in the film but the point is that every culture has its idea of what people should be like.

    Helpful Background:

    The Kalahari is a vast expanse of arid and semi-arid land located in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. It is about 275,000 square miles in size. Most of the Kalahari has red soils and low growing grasses and brush. Large patches of sand are found in the eastern portion of the desert. Rainfall is about 9 inches per year.

    "Bushmen" is a South African name for the San people, also known as Khoi-San, an ethnic group of the Kalahari Desert in Botswana and Namibia. The San language uses click sounds. Traditionally, the San are hunter-gatherers who live in small groups of about ten nuclear families which hold sway over about 300 square miles of territory. Home sites are changed once a month as food becomes scarce. The San use light bows and arrows tipped with poison to hunt. Some live in caves, others in huts.

    The San have artistic ability and a complex religion. Each band has a hereditary leader but he has only limited powers. Many of the San have become farm laborers and are losing their cultural heritage. It is reported that when Uys found N!xau, the actor who played Xi, N!xau was working as a cook and had never supported himself by hunting and gathering.

For English Language Arts classes, distribute TWM's Film Study Worksheet. Teachers can modify the worksheet to fit the needs of each class. Ask students to fill out the worksheet as they watch the film or at the film's end.

Click here for TWM's lesson plans to introduce cinematic and theatrical technique.

BUILDING VOCABULARY: the antichrist.


    Discussion Questions:

    1.  See Discussion Questions for Use With any Film that is a Work of Fiction.

    2.  Why did the white people seem uneducated and stupid to Xi?

    3.  Why did the bottle have a bad effect on Bushman society?

    4.  Why couldn't Xi exist for long shut up in jail?
Select questions that are appropriate for your students.

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    Social-Emotional Learning Discussion Questions:


    1.  Have you ever "frozen" in the presence of a person of the opposite sex and been unable to say anything or at least anything that is even remotely intelligent? What causes this and how can you get over it?

For suggested answers:    click here.

    Moral-Ethical Emphasis Discussion Questions (Character Counts)

    Discussion Questions Relating to Ethical Issues will facilitate the use of this film to teach ethical principles and critical viewing. Additional questions are set out below.


    (Treat others with respect; follow the Golden Rule; Be tolerant of differences; Use good manners, not bad language; Be considerate of the feelings of others; Don't threaten, hit or hurt anyone; Deal peacefully with anger, insults and disagreements)

    1.  Does the culture of the San people appear to be deserving of your respect? Who has the right to answer that question, the San people or foreigners?

    2.  Do you feel that after seeing this film, you have more respect for the San people? Why?

    3.  Who is better able to function in a desert environment, the San people or "the heavy people" with all our technology?

Teachwithmovies.com is a Character Counts "Six Pillars Partner" and uses The Six Pillars of Character to organize ethical principles.

Character Counts and the Six Pillars of Character are marks of the CHARACTER COUNTS! Coalition, a project of the Josephson Institute of Ethics.

For suggested answers:    click here.

    Bridges to Reading: None.


    Links to the Internet: None.



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