Reimagining a solitary landscape : tracing communities of care in Exodus 1-2 and the film Shirley Adams

Van Der Walt, Charlene ; Terblanche, Judith (2016)

CITATION: Van Der Walt, C. & Terblanche, J. 2016. Reimagining a solitary landscape : tracing communities of care in Exodus 1-2 and the film Shirley Adams. Old Testament Essays, 29(1):176-194, doi:10.17159/2312-3621/2016/v29n1a11.

The original publication is available at http://www.scielo.org.za

Article

The 2009 film, Shirley Adams, directed by the South African director, Oliver Hermanus, depicts Shirley as the lone caregiver to her son, a victim of gang violence on the Cape Flats (South Africa) which rendered him physically disabled and emotionally scared. The film is used as a lens to explore the inter sectionality of poverty, violence, gender, class, race, and disability within the South African society. The film's intimate portrayal of Shirley in her efforts to care for her son leaves the viewer without any illusion of the problems facing caregivers. Shirley's solitary effort to embody hope in a stark situation of despair is contrasted with the life giving possibilities contained within so called "communities of care. " The community in Exod 1-3 that forms around Moses as identified by Feminist Biblical Scholars is used as an illuminating example. This paper explores the intertextual dialogue between two seemingly distant texts as Shirley Adams enters into creative conversation with a imaginative group of women creating a community of care around one who is helpless and vulnerable. The essay facilitates this interaction between film and Bible text by dynamically shifting in focus between the two distant story landscapes and in the process ultimately imagines an alternative reality for the seemingly isolated Shirley Adams.

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