Fantasia 2018: Number 37 (Nommer 37)

Randall and Pam fear for their lives whilst they watch the movements of their potential target in Number 37. Credit: Lindsey Appolis.

The comparisons to Rear Window are there but writer-director Nosipho Dumisa makes Number 37 her own.

Randal Hendricks (Irshaad Ally) just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.  He found himself in a wheelchair after a deal went terribly wrong.  While he’s stuck in his Cape Town apartment, this film is not the Alfred Hitchcock classic.  While it is an homage, the plot is tremendously different and you don’t have the legendary Jimmy Stewart but I digress.

Randal is essentially stuck in his Cape Town apartment.  At the same time, a loan shark, Emmie (Danny Ross), is out to get him.  There’s just one minor problem with that.  Randal does not have the money to pay Emmie back and this guy is not exactly the person you want to make angry.  Randal doesn’t just fear for his own life but his girlfriend, Pam Ismael (Monique Rockman), too.  Emmie is a violent person so he shows Randall what will come if the money isn’t there in a week.  A pair of binoculars given to Randal by Pam, similar to that of Rear Window, come in handy.  It also draws on another Rear Window reference.  While they come in handy, it also means Randal sees things that he shouldn’t.

What happens when you see things that you shouldn’t be seeing?  Those people will track you down!  Randal sees Lawyer (David Manuel) murder a cop.  A blackmail scheme involving Pam and Warren (Ephram Gordon) is soon underway to force Lawyer’s silence.

For the crime thriller to work, it’s going to take more than just an homage.  In this case, there are a handful of tense moments.  We get exactly that!  Irshaad Ally may not be James Stewart but we don’t feel any less tense as we see things through his eyes.

While an area such as Cape Town is seen as a haven for tourists, the Cape Flats aren’t seen in the same light.  Years ago, the area was where people were essentially forced to move into these areas without being able to leave.  Even though things have changed over the years to an extent, writer-director Nosipho Dumisa gives us her own take on the Flats by way of the fictional New Haven neighborhood.  Dumisa penned the script in English before translating it into the Afrikaans language.

The Hitchcockian comparisons not withstanding, Dumisa has placed herself on the map as a feature filmmaker.  Maybe an English-speaking remake of Number 37 is up next?

DIRECTOR/SCREENWRITER:  Nosipho Dumisa
CAST:  Irshaad Ally, Monique Rockman, Ephram Gordon, David Manuel, Sandy Schultz, Deon Lotz, Danny Ross, Amrain Essop, Elton Landrew, Jeff Moss

Number 37 (Nommer 37) screened during the 2018 Fantasia International Film Festival.  The world premiere was during the 2018 SXSW Film Festival.  Dark Star Pictures will release the film in the US this fall.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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