Cornelius Moore is codirector of the Bay Area distributor/producer California Newsreel.
Thomas Mogotlane, Thembi Mtshali, Dolly Rathebe, Peter Sephuma,
An apolitical small-time crook finds you can’t stay out of politics for long on the streets of Soweto in this legendary 1988 film, the first anti-apartheid feature made in South Africa. Endorsed by the African National Congress and banned by the white government of the time, Mapantsula (slang for gangster) was shot directly in the townships and bristles with an energy and ferocity fueled by South African underground culture, not to mention the then-contemporary, politicized direct cinema of Alan Clarke. Thirty years on, it’s a vital time capsule of protest, street culture, and pride.