The debate over the extent to which Die Antwoord are performance art has raged and subsided in recent years. Many, it seems, are now just willing to accept that the characters’ appeal rests in the unreal aspects of their music, appearance and the unanswered questions that come with it. It’s possible that’s why I barely batted an eyelid at Yolandi and Ninja’s quick cameos in the latest trailer for upcoming film CHAPPIE.
The film, focused around a reject military android who is given enhanced AI, is the latest offering from South African-Canadian director Neill Blomkamp which probably doesn’t come as a surprise to those familiar with his works (dystopian sci-fi concepts in dilapidated African landscapes are a staple of his output). It looks like Yolandi and Ninja are underdog allies of the childlike, self-sacrificing CHAPPIE and, I suspect, they’re the ones that spray paint a dollar sign on his head and bestow him with the gold chain at the 1:48 mark.
CHAPPIE first appeared in a very short concept film by Blomkamp called Tetra Vaal (slide three in the gallery above) which, while devoid of the interpersonal relationships and themes of humanity, seem to mirror the underlying concept of weaponised humanoid robots in crime-ridden districts of South Africa.
Side note: what’s with old mate Neill sticking bunny ears on robots? He did it in Tetra Vaal as well as his obscure 2006 short film Tempbot (slide four in the gallery). Maybe it’s just a good way of conveying emotion when your lead actor is as blank and emotionless as Hayden Christensen.
CHAPPIE also stars Hugh Jackman and Sigourney Weaver as the super-evil, no-good bad guys. It comes to cinemas on March 6.