Traditionally, westerns are set during the 19th century, within the newly purchased yet most undeveloped western half of the United States — hence their name. But the tropes that are crucial to a Western story (tough loners, acres of unexplored land, rustic clothes and speech patterns, a sense of lawlessness) can be applied to any setting (like say, space) and still be called a “Western” even if that’s not geographically correct.
You can even set a Western in South Africa, which is what the upcoming Five Fingers For Marseilles does. The movie takes place in a small town newly liberated from Apartheid policies, yet only technically — the citizens still suffer under the thumb of officials who rule and dominate the town ruthlessly. Until the day a young outlaw rides into town….
The residents of the colonial town of Marseilles are under the thumb of police oppression and only the young rebels known as the Five Fingers are willing to stand up to them. Their battle is just, until Tau kills two policemen and flees the scene. The remaining rebels disband while the banished Tau resorts to a life of crime. Twenty years later, now known as feared outlaw The Lion of Marseilles, he is released from prison. He returns home, desiring only peace and to reconnect with those he left behind.
The battle for South Africa’s freedom has been won, and former comrades-in-arms are in prominent positions as mayor, police chief, and pastor. But it quickly becomes clear to Tau that Marseilles is caught in the grip of a vicious new threat — and he must reconstitute the Five Fingers to fight frontier justice. Standing against former allies and new enemies, the re-formed Five Fingers saddle up and ride out, and put their lives at risk to save their beloved Marseilles.
Sound tantalizing? If you’re fortunate, you can catch Five Fingers For Marseilles during its limited theatrical run next month. The following cities will play host to screenings, with more to be revealed:
New York 9/7/14
Los Angeles 9/14/18
Columbus, OH 9/14/18
Atlanta, GA 9/21/18
Phoenixville, PA 9/21/18
Baltimore, MD 9/28/18
Five Fingers For Marseilles officially opens September 7.