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The movie “Catching Feelings” was complex and engaging. The main character, Max Matsane, was likable and unlikeable at the same time.  His intelligence and dark humor accompanied by his work as a professor and writer created a very dynamic character.
One thing that stood out to me about the film was how 21st century the concepts were in the movie. The movie touched on various topics that I found were interesting. For instance, I was intrigued when Max and his colleague and friend, Joel, were talking about the usage of the n-word and under what context the word should be used. I am used to hearing this debate in the U.S. but was interested to hear it in a South African context. The consensus the two came to was that even though the word is not appropriate to use in many contexts, saying the n-word is not as serious an offense as saying the k-word is.
Another topic of interest that was raised in the movie was how gentrification has impacted the city of Joburg. Max asserts at one point in the movie while he and his wife are attending an event one night that white people used to be afraid to move out to certain parts of Joburg before the mass process of gentrification. I found his comment interesting because gentrification has been a topic that I have discussed with my groupmates and co-workers on several different occasions throughout the trip. I feel like I have thought about gentrification more while in South Africa than back home, which is incredible because the phenomenon is just as common back home. Particularly, gentrification is a problem in Durham, which is experiencing an influx of investment into downtown areas, forcing less affluent Durhamites to move to the periphery. The movie echoes the fact that places in the world are more interconnected than they seem.
Furthermore, the differences between Cape Town and Joburg viewed through Max’s overnight trip were interesting. During one scene, Max is dining in a restaurant in Cape Town predominantly filled with white people. While walking to the exit, Max is stopped by a white gentleman who thinks he is the waiter. Max ignores the man and continues to walk but is obviously offended by the assumption that he is the waiter. I have often experienced being one of the few black people in a restaurant here, so to see this experience portrayed in the movie was thought-provoking.
Additionally, the movie’s depiction of Joburg as a thriving, cosmopolitan area was very similar to the experiences I had there. For instance, Sam, Joel, and Lazola visited Kitcheners, a place where our group hung out. Another place we visited that was central in the movie was the University of Witwatersrand, which is where we attended a discussion with Professor Noor Nieftagodien. It was quite cool to recognize the places where the movie was filmed.
Overall, I enjoyed watching the movie. The movie made me contemplate different topics while also viewing the country I am visiting through a new lens.