first published here: https://www.facebook.com/seancmichael/posts/335015993307622
December 13, 2013
November 15, 2013
first published here: http://www.artlink.co.za/news_article.htm?contentID=34323
November 13, 2013
November 1, 2013
keep reading this article here: http://thenewage.co.za/46256-1022-53-Perspective_of_the_Man_On_Ground
October 31, 2013
October 24, 2013
I enjoyed it – but, Oh, what a huge burden of questions! And like Khalo I have no answers, at least not in the framework of langauages and references he employees.
I do think a Marxist-Leninist inspired analysis may make some headway (history and people on its stage are not static, they change; class conflict and the changing balance of forces determines what happens, not individuals however “great”; Mandela is human and like all of us subject to historical circumstances; and, dialectically : he was “great” (and unpack that) and thus achieved; if he had chosen/acted otherwise he might not have been “great” and may not have achieved; what he achieved/contributed was possible because of what he accepted he could not achieve/attempt.
On this last point, had he lived up to Khalo’s imagination of him (striding into a township as an armed commander at the head of an army) he’d have been mown down by the apartheid forces and become a footnote in a racial saga of a civil war – so frankly, tough shit for Khalo’s dream, and thank goodness for reality as it unfolded.
Final comment – I am left with a nagging feeling that Khalo’s “Letter” doesn’t so much document the enigma and present the questions, as much as it manufactures them – but this may be becasue I have only the trailer to go by. Of course it is not alone in this (the media as a whole in its breadth and diversity seems pre-occupied with the creation of Mandela fables to entertain and confuse us). A truly great film about Mandela will explain the complexity not deepen it.
But them I’m too into fact and short on dreams and imaginings . . .
Journey To The Self: an intimate portrait of jaspar lepak is helgé janssen’s astonishing portrait of a singer-songwriter whose life provides an apt metonym for our times. Her exquisitely beautiful voice plangently declares that “all of this violence we witness to women is the shame that we carry for bearing the fruit”, situating misogyny in the crucible of judeo-christian theosophy. Lepak talks about “the sense of loss of growing up in a religion where the pronoun is masculine” and humbly states, “this world wasn’t made for such sensitive things” (as women). “I’m tired of violence being entertainment” she is not ashamed to declare and watching this labour of love that is indeed intimately filmed by janssen, on the same day, as i did, as i watched the ghastly new isaac mutant video, kak stirvy (dookoom), i couldn’t help thinking how utterly lost this country is.
Lepak’s world is a realm outside of the machinations of the marketplace; “i’m still trying to figure out how to be in the world”. Unfortunately the world as it is is not a place any sensitive person would choose to be in/ But we don’t have a choice do we? Janssen made a choice the moment he heard Lepak’s voice at a live concert, he chose to follow her rigorously, filming gigs, recording sessions, soundchecks and, most presciently, a series of intimate conversations with the singer that make you feel like you’re sitting next to her and she’s talking to you for the first time about subjects that are of grave import to her, that are necessary. How she overcame her shyness, “the voice really got stuck inside”, and found her singing voice is a section of the film that will grab you by the throat and have you swallowing back tears and the descriptions of her fight to battle an eating disorder cannot but bring to mind the tragedy of karen carpenter and her battle against anorexia nervosa. “Hunger is a voice that needs to be listened to.” Indeed.
Journey to the self is a film that needs to be seen.
contact Helgé Janssen for your copy : email@example.com
October 21, 2013
first published here: http://www.filmcontact.com/africa/south-africa/good-report-receives-critical-acclaim-lff
October 1, 2013
I witnessed an ancient ceremony in the mountains of northern Zambia in
which a traditional healer cleansed two widows in a holy river. Both were
being haunted and made sick by the spirits of their dead husbands, who do
not want to move to the place of the dead, because certain rituals were
not performed correctly after their death.
The healer sprinkles them with purifying herbs, beats them with twigs, and
chants old songs commanding the spirits to leave ‘to the west, where the
dead live’ and leave the women in peace.
I was much impressed by the purity of this ceremony and its connection
with nature, and also with the gladness and relief of the women
This video is the tenth short documentary in my Spirits of Africa series
for the Youtube channel of the same name which has recently passed 60.000
Met vriendelijke groet, best regards, from Ton van der Lee
September 20, 2013
September 18, 2013
September 13, 2013
August 28, 2013
Zelda Potgieter – Lost in the desert? Sounding African landscapes in the music of the films of Jamie Uys.
This discussion will examine selected films by South African film maker Jamie Uys (1922-1996). Firstly, the Uys intertext will be read as one wherein Uys can be seen not only as promulgating Afrikaner interests as beneficiary of an inequitable subsidy system in the South African film industry during the years of apartheid, but also as subverting the apartheid narrative by expressing Afrikaner alignment with rural Africa and the African people, problematising their relationship instead with modernism, technology, urbanisation, and English-speaking white South Africa. In this way urban, industrialised space is often expressed as a threat to Afrikaner security and identity, whereas the rural African landscape is a space wherein they are home, and hence where political and ideological appropriation is presented as unproblematic.
Secondly, cases will be highlighted wherein Uys appears to have attempted to interrogate and subvert this very intertext. These two opposing positions are roughly, although not entirely, aligned with the location of the filmic narrative in either comedic or dramatic narrative forms. In the case of the former, for which Uys is arguably best remembered, Keyan Tomaselli has noted the importance of his contribution to Afrikaner consciousness and identity insofar as his early films in particular ‘offered the first light-hearted, self-depreciating cultural moment after the severity of the historical processes [the Afrikaner] is historically known for, as it attempted to be humourous rather than overtly ideological in its approach’.
Thirdly and finally, consideration will be given to the ambivalence of the musical discourses of such films in aligning themselves with one or the other of the former two positions, ultimately positing the Uys intertext vis-à-vis the African rural landscape as one typified by a schizophrenia vacillating between, on the one hand, an anti-colonial sentiment – which might be understood from the point of view of the extent to which the Afrikaner himself felt unjustly “colonised” by British rule – but, on the other hand, also of an increasing desire to depict the Afrikaner as aligned with colonial narratives of progress and civilisation.
Zelda Potgieter (Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University) is Associate Professor of Musicology at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, and former chairperson of the South African Society for Research in Music.
August 24, 2013
August 14, 2013
July 29, 2013
first published here: http://www.citypress.co.za/news/unbanned-of-good-report-wins-appeal/
July 27, 2013
keep reading this article here: http://www.citypress.co.za/entertainment/our-ideas-are-being-policed/
July 23, 2013
keep reading this article here: http://africasacountry.com/this-film-has-been-banned/
may be a young South African filmmaker, but he’s accomplished plenty in his time so far in the industry.
His work has been highlighted at film festivals around the world, and his 2005 HIV/AIDS documentary, “Talk to Me,” won a 2005 Peabody Award. His 2010 film, “A Small Town Called Descent,” premiered at the 31st Durban Film Festival, and his latest pic, “Of Good Report,” which he calls “Little Red Riding Hood from the wolf’s perspective,” was set to open the 34th Durban Film Festival on Thursday, but the opening screening was cancelled when the South African government refused to grant the film a license.
Before the dramatic events surrounding the cancelled opening night unfolded, he spoke to Variety about his approach to filmmaking.
Tell us about your new film project, “Of Good Report.”
The film charts the somber tale of a deranged man’s attempt at getting away with the brutal murder of a teenage beauty queen. In all honesty, this film is my indulgent homage to everything I fell in love with in what is termed “film noir,” or as I understand it to mean: films with a dark, unnerving edge to them. I would loosely describe it as disquieting whilst delivering an eerily engaging insight into a fractured mind.
The film is very macabre, yet it is fused with a humorous sensibility which for me was an imperative in order to make it palatable. Often the only way to deal with some of the uncomfortable bits is to have a nervous chuckle at them.
What inspired this project?
I intended the film to be a serial killer origins story. Our protagonist is a social misfit who grows into an inadequate man hell-bent on satisfying his shameful lust. It is told from the perspective of the perpetrator, which can be challenging considering that most of what he does can hardly be described as redeeming, to say the least. I am fascinated by the darker aspects of the human psyche.
You host “The Films that Made Me.” Can you explain how the five films you feature had an impact on you?
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The five films that I selected at some time or another in my life moved me to such a degree that they directly influenced my storytelling. Although they are all very different films, they share a common thread. The directors were what I would consider mavericks. The first film is Godfrey Reggio’s “Koyaanisqatsi” — a film that for me challenged the very DNA of what constituted narrative filmmaking. I vehemently disagree with the common assertion that this film has no story. To the contrary, the narrative is very evident.
John Schlesinger’s “Midnight Cowboy” — this remains one of my all-time favorite films. Not enough praise can ever be given to Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman for their stellar and inspiring performances. The other three films are Jean-Jacques Annaud’s “Quest for Fire” (I really hope no one ever re-makes this classic), Akira Kurosawa’s “Ran” and Oliver Schmitz’s “Mapantsula,” a 1987 South African film that set the bar so high for local filmmaking that it has, up to this day, not been surpassed in its balance between characterization and plot.
What are you bringing to the South African film market?
I intend to bring anarchy, mayhem and dissent to an industry I feel is a sleeping giant. I want to tear the whole rule book to shreds and say to younger filmmakers, “Let your soul pilot your endeavors. It’s okay to fail if you gave it your best shot.” I am an eternal optimist with a strong streak of narcissism.
As a South African filmmaker, what kinds of challenges do you face?
As a filmmaker of African Descent I find that my artistic expression or work is not judged with the same discerning eye as that of my European or American counterparts. What I mean by that is, even if I set out to make a relatively universal story, because of the African context, the work is often viewed differently. For instance, my film “Of Good Report,” could have been set anywhere in the world. This could be a teacher in New Jersey. But because my character preys on young girls in a far flung, poor, rural village in Africa as opposed to Soho, London, the film will not be seen as a serial killer origins story, but instead, it will be seen as a story of grave social depravity that leads a young man of meager means on the wrong path. The socio-economic stigma cast on African art by external eyes can often be deflating. It’s almost as if the outside world does not want to see us making anything else but movies about HIV or child soldiers. But I won’t let it get to me. I have too many films to make.
With Nelson Mandela #nelsonmandela in the news, a lot of outsiders think of South Africa in terms of race and politics. Do local audiences want this topic addressed, or do they prefer escapism?
The entire world is fixated with race and politics. Look at the Trayvon Martin case in America. Race will always rear its ugly head. The Mandela saga has obviously brought our country under focus, but I just think that is a reflection of how we all feel about race and politics globally. I do think though it is time humanity lets the old man go in peace. He has done his part, now it’s our turn.