South Africa

Oliver Hermanus – Moffie (2019)

Quote:
Nicholas has long known he is different, that there is something shameful and unacceptable in him that must stay hidden, denied even. But South Africa’s minority government are embroiled in conflict at the Angolian border and all white young men over 16 must serve two years of compulsory military service to defend the Apartheid regime and its culture of toxic racist machismo. The ‘black danger’ is the real and present threat; what is wrong with Nicholas and others like him can be rooted out, treated and cured like a cancer. But just when fear pushes Nicholas to accept unspeakable horrors in the hopes of staying invisible, a tender relationship with another recruit becomes as dangerous for them both as any enemy fire. Read More »

Oliver Schmitz – Life, Above All (2010)

Quote:
Just after the death of her newly born sister, Chanda (12) learns of a rumour spreading through her small village near Johannesburg. It destroys her family and forces her mother to flee. Chanda leaves home and school in search of her mother – and the truth. Life, Above All is an emotional and universal drama about a young girl (stunningly performed by first-time-actress Khomotso Manyaka) who fights the fear and shame that have poisoned her community. The film captures the enduring strength of loyalty and a courage powered by the heart. Directed by South African filmmaker Oliver Schmitz (Mapantsula, Paris, je t-aime), it is based on the international award winning novel ‘Chanda’s Secrets’ by Allan Stratton. Read More »

Richard Stanley – Rites of Passage (1983)

Here is a nice little Super-8 student film directed by and starring Richard Stanley (Hardware, Dust Devil). “Rites of Passage” feels like the result of what might happen if Derek Jarman attempted to adapt Kubrick’s 2001 into a short.

As a primordial man (Richard Stanley) wanders in the plains and forests of the Dark Continent, seemingly at the dawn of the human race, a narrator reminisces on past lives, all of which he remembers. These outspoken thoughts seem to be with the primordial man as he travels towards an unknown destination; the two co-exist simultaneously despite the gap of thousands of years. Their lives are intervowen – as they’ve always been… Read More »

Cedric Sundstrom – The Shadowed Mind (1988)

Stephanie, arrives as a patient at a private clinic for sufferers of sexual dysfunction run by Dr Hildesheimer. Stephanie’s fellow patients all have their own issues including inhibition, neurosis, fixation, delusions etc. Stephanie begins a tentative affair with one of the other patients while a killer stalks the institution. Read More »

Henning Carlsen – Dilemma (1962)

Quote:
The Danish director Henning Carlsen has Max Roach to thank for the revival of Dilemma, his debut feature from 1962. Screening as part of Jazz Score, the Museum of Modern Art’s survey of movies with original jazz compositions, this black-and-white drama gets a blast of vitality from a soundtrack hopped up on Roach’s bebop and the infectious swing of Gideon Nxumalo, a South African composer adept in the style of indigenous jazz known as marabi. Read More »

Oliver Schmitz – Mapantsula (1988)

From the Chicago Reader (Jonathan Rosenbaum) :
Shot in Johannesburg and Soweto by Oliver Schmitz, a white South African, this radical 1988 feature offers a grittier view of the anti-apartheid movement than Cry Freedom or A World Apart, both from the same period. A petty thief (Thomas Mogotlane) winds up in jail, meets other blacks involved in protesting racism, and gradually becomes politically aware. Banned in South Africa upon release, the film conveys a volatile sense of both time and place–according to the South African censor, it had “the power to incite probable viewers to act violently.” Read More »

Jamie Uys – Dirkie AKA Lost in the Desert (1969)

Lost in the Desert, initially released as Dirkie, is a South African film from 1969/1970, written, produced and directed by Jamie Uys under the name of Jamie Hayes.

Uys himself plays Anton De Vries, a concert pianist whose 8-year-old son Dirkie is the central character. Dirkie is played by Uys’s real-life son Wynand Uys, credited as Dirkie Hayes. Read More »