Magic Garden, The

28. THE MAGIC GARDEN (1960-South Africa). This whimsical musical allegory is set in AlexanÂdria Township, located outside Johannesburg. Its story details the theft Of some “magic money,” and the manner in which this loot affects the lives Of those it touches. The film is one extended chase sequence, with many smiles along the way. Yet, despite the fact that it features an all-black east (Of nonprOfessional actors, culled from the Alexandria Township population), the film is most intriguing as it reflects a black South Africa filtered through a white colonial consciousness. A narrator informs us that blacks in Johannesburg are the “workers Of the city,” yet they seem to have only the lowliest Of jobs. They earn their keep by toiling as “messenger boys, nurse girls, cleaners…” Their “leisurely ways” and “cheerful smiles” are supposed to indicate that they are content with their lot in life, and their place in a society in which apartheid rules. (Newspaper headlines, stretching over the past few decades, have told us otherwise.) Furthermore, South African blacks have “curious tribal customs” and perform “quaint ceremonies” that are “strange to the eyes Of the white man.” Never mind that the ways Of the white man may just as easily seem strange to the eyes Of the black man! So, beneath (he surface Of this lighthearted fable, there is much to observe and ponder. In English. 63 minutes. Drama All-Black