When Randal Hendricks (Irshaad Ally), a recent paraplegic, is given a pair of binoculars by his girlfriend, Pam (Monique Rockman), it was meant as a means of escape – offering prospects beyond the crime- riddled Cape Town suburbs they are forced to call home. Despite her attempts at keeping Randal on the straight and narrow, a financial debt to loan shark Emmie keeps him on edge, worried about the repercussions they could suffer if he fails to come up with some quick cash. When one of his neighbors commits murder and Randall happens to observe the killing through his binoculars, desperation forces him to consider a blackmail scheme without giving much thought to the means of payback hardened gangsters could turn to.
A terrific thriller from a director who closely studied a Hitchcock classic and built upon his language to find her own voice, Nosipho Dumisa’s Number 37 grounds Rear Window in the bleak social realities of life in the Cape Flats and raises the stakes in meaningful ways. Arguably more smartly structured than Rear Window, Number 37 loses none of Hitchcock’s trademark suspense and features fleshed- out protagonists while deftly portraying a web of complex relationships. What starts as homage ends up enriching Hitchcock’s film with both a social and an emotional dimension.
“There is a great new wave of genre film emerging from South Africa, and [director Nosipho] Dumisa should be counted at the forefront” – Shelagh Rowan-Legg, ScreenAnarchy