Very loosely based on the life of the famous Glenda Kemp, this special edition of Snake Dancer is packed with extra features, interviews and information on the history of South African film. Some well-known SA actors like Bruce Millar and Christine Basson appear in the movie which takes us from Glenda's childhood, her early fascination with snakes, adoption by foster parents, school years, ballet classes and teacher training, through her stormy career as exotic dancer and stripper to the macabre and unbelievable finale.
Glenda was indeed the sensation of the seventies in South Africa where she and her python Oupa (Grandpa, pronounced Oh Pah) shocked polite society but were press favorites widely admired by the general public. The story line includes police raids, court appearances, tours of small-town South Africa, and many dance scenes, not only with Oupa but also solo and with glove puppets, plus her love relationships. It evokes nostalgia for its vivid portrayal of Johannesburg night life in the period, especially the inner city scenes and those of the then highly cosmopolitan suburb of Hillbrow which was considered the Manhattan of Joburg in those days.
Extras include a short text section about Glenda and the making of the film, the informative featurette Escape From Apartheid: A History of South African Cult Cinema which is an interview with critic Trevor Steele Taylor about SA film - in particular the vibrant underground cinema scene and the tearoom cinema phenomenon - from the late 1940s to 2006 with mention of the work of various pioneers Jamie Uys, Ian Kerkhof/Aryan Kaganof, Ken Gampu and others, and 3 interviews with Dirk de Villiers, director of Snake Dancer.
Some of the dance scenes are a bit wild but I wouldn't say crass, although that's a matter of opinion. I'm sure by today's standards they'd be considered soft "pawn." I had a terrible flu when I watched the DVD and seeing the adorable Oupa definitely made me feel better, just like Moses' brass serpent in the desert helped heal people when they watched it after they got sick from over-indulging in quail. People who are into TT's and stuff will enjoy it, but I also recommend Snake Dancer to students of the history of SA film and for those who hanker after a bit of 1970s SA nostalgia.