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Necktie Youth

by Sibs Shongwe-La Mer

Necktie Youth

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Shot in black and white, Shongwe-La Mer's films is a tale of disaffected youth, bad drugs, bravado and suicide, set amongst the leafy suburbs of middle class Johannesburg. It's one year after the death of Jabz's friend Emily who mysteriously live streamed her own suicide on the internet. While a documentary crew tries to make sense of her death, Jabz and others who knew Emily are desperate to forget. Jabz and September float through the city in a borrowed Jaguar, mouthing off about race, politics and bizarre sexual encounters. A series of seemingly random events, from shoplifting pharmaceuticals to picking a fight in a liquor store, to a disturbing visit to their cross-dressing drug dealer, eventually leads them to the home (and the arms) of beautiful bikini-clad Jewish twins, Tali and Rafi. Expensive wine is opened and more drugs consumed as the group descends into a child-like euphoric haze. Through it all Jabz and September cling to each other, trying to express the feeling shared by all the kids in the city; a desire for compassion and identity in large doses.

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