A documentary on Johannesburg South African men who call themselves "Swenkas" and compete for cash and prizes in an event that's part fashion show, part choreography, and part moral code.

Director:

1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Bridgend (2015)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

"Bridgend" follows Sara and her dad, Dave as they arrive to a small village in Bridgend County. The village is haunted by suicides amongst its young inhabitants, and Sara falls dangerously ... See full summary »

Director: Jeppe Rønde
Stars: Hannah Murray, Josh O'Connor, Adrian Rawlins
Superclásico (2011)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Christian is a Copenhagen wine seller on the brink of bankruptcy. Equally unsuccessful in just about every other aspect of life, it has been 17months since his wife Anna left him. Anna ... See full summary »

Director: Ole Christian Madsen
Stars: Mikael Bertelsen, Anders W. Berthelsen, Jamie Morton
Los Olvidados (1950)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A group of juvenile delinquents live a violent and crime-filled life in the festering slums of Mexico City, and the morals of young Pedro are gradually corrupted and destroyed by the others...

Director: Luis Buñuel
Stars: Alfonso Mejía, Roberto Cobo, Estela Inda
Idealisten (2015)
Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A whistleblower attempts to reveal the secret behind a nuclear disaster that occurred during the height of the Cold War.

Director: Christina Rosendahl
Stars: Peter Plaugborg, Søren Malling, Thomas Bo Larsen
Reprise (2006)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Two competitive friends, fueled by literary aspirations and youthful exuberance, endure the pangs of love, depression and burgeoning careers.

Director: Joachim Trier
Stars: Anders Danielsen Lie, Espen Klouman Høiner, Viktoria Winge
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A four-year old boy, Pricò, becomes the subject of emotional folly by his fluctuant parents and inattentive relatives.

Director: Vittorio De Sica
Stars: Emilio Cigoli, Luciano De Ambrosis, Isa Pola
Limbo VIII (2014)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

In a small town in rural Denmark, adolescent Sara and young teacher Karen develop a connection. A quiet drama interested as much in the lives of its protagonists as in their surroundings.

Director: Anna Sofie Hartmann
Stars: Annika Nuka Matthiasen, Sofia Nolsøe Mikkelsen, Laura Gustafsen
Lost Paradise (2009)
Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A man and a woman are tenderly making love in a one star hotel room. A moment later when they are both dressed up, the idyll that seamed authentic is now gone. A modern look at the story of Adam and Eve.

Directors: Oded Binnun, Mihal Brezis
Stars: Moris Cohen, Rotem Zissman-Cohen
Short | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Doctor Williams is the latest psychiatrist to deal with a smug patient called Voorman who claims to be God himself. Although skeptical, Williams soon gets an eerie feeling that openly malicious Voorman is not simply insane.

Director: Mark Gill
Stars: Martin Freeman, Tom Hollander, Simon Griffiths
Short | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Adrien is a young pianist prodigy. He collapsed psychologically having failed in a renowned competition and henceforth works as a piano tuner. As remedy to this life, he invents a blind ... See full summary »

Director: Olivier Treiner
Stars: Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet, Danièle Lebrun, Grégory Gadebois
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

One city, three religions. An outsider looking for his lost faith.

Director: Jeppe Rønde
Playing Hard to Get (Video 2001)
Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Musicians in a jazz quartet dispute the attention of a beautiful lady in a bar, playing their instruments to the limit.

Director: Tim Bullock
Stars: Morgan O'Neill, Alex Sideratos, Billy Mitchell
Edit

Cast

Cast overview:
Sabelo ...
Himself
Mr. Zulu ...
Himself
Yule Masiteng ...
Storyteller (voice)
Edit

Storyline

A documentary on Johannesburg South African men who call themselves "Swenkas" and compete for cash and prizes in an event that's part fashion show, part choreography, and part moral code.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary

Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

18 November 2004 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

Oi Swenkas  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Connections

Referenced in Smagsdommerne: Episode #2.16 (2005) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Utterly unique documentary "fable"
29 May 2005 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See all my reviews

I saw this film at the 2005 Hot Docs festival in Toronto. This film was really unlike any other documentary I've ever seen. The Swenkas are a group of about 20 Zulu men who gather each weekend to "swank": they dress up in fancy suits and jewellery and compete before a judge to see who is the most stylish. Sort of a "Lord of the Bling" (ooh, couldn't resist!). But it's more than just fun for them. Swanking represents self-respect, and these men emphasize certain values such as cleanliness and sobriety. It's as if the old adage "Clothes make the man" has come to life. Even though some may think these men are spending far too much money on their clothes, it seems to have given them the pride they need to be successful in life. Certainly no one in their families complains. Besides, sometimes they compete for large sums of money (or even, now and then, a cow.) The reason the film stands out is the way it has been crafted. Director Rønde uses the framing device of a fictional narrator, an old Zulu vagabond who tells us a bit about the group, but also sets up the dramatic arc of the story: the leader of the Swenkas has just died, and his son is grieving and thinking about abandoning the group. This storyline gives the film the feeling of a fictional film, and at times it's hard to believe that the whole thing isn't carefully scripted.

The director explained afterward that he never told the participants what to say, but that since Zulu culture is built around storytelling and the Swenkas were all used to performing, each participant had no trouble "performing" in the film. But they really were working through a difficult time in the life of their group.

The result is a beautifully shot, and even more beautifully edited film that feels more like a fable. The recurring themes are hope and the relationship between fathers and sons. The director actually told us that this film is the second in a trilogy about faith, hope and love, and I found myself really eager to see the other films. A standard documentary approach, with interviews and such, would have made an interesting film. Jeppe Rønde's unorthodox approach has given us a transcendent one.


12 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss The Swenkas (2004) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?