Jans Rautenbach lyk soos enigiemand se Oupa. As South Africa’s most celebrated and controversial filmmaker, Think!Fest sat down with legendary Jans Rautenbach to discuss his career and role in film.
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Only due to be released internationally on 16 October, movie-goers at Festival were treated with a preview of Jans Rautenbach’s new film, Abraham, at the Olive Schreiner Room, Monument, on Friday.
In an opinion piece for Cue, Sihle Mthembu wrote that there was little attention given to recent South African cinema. Mthembu said that the lack of focus on the film programme is a direct result of the fact that there is no Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year Award given for film in 2015.
In the age of digital and DVD most of us have lost the technical art of projecting film. Cinematograph projectionist, Janadien Cupido, is one of the few masters left in this field – living and working with film in all its forms to keep it alive. Cue interviewed him at the Olive Schreiner room at the Monument about how his passion for film was born.
“It was around August of 1968. I was still in primary school, when I was assisting my brother in the projection booth in Cape Town. I got fascinated with these projectors. I said to him, ‘What are those things with the sparks coming out everywhere?’ He took me to the projector and he explained to me in detail that this is the upper mechanism, this is the lamp. And so I looked around and
Janide Cupido loading a roll of film onto the projecter. Photo: Charles Harry Mackenzie
said, ‘But this thing is running at a speed!’ It was running at 1,400 revs per minute, four picture frames per second and travelling at 90 feet per second followed by sound. I was fascinated.
“Then I became my brother’s assistant in the projection booth, on the condition that my mother agreed to it. I began with manually rewinding the reels for him for the next screening.
“I completed my apprenticeship in 1968 at the Broadway Cinema in Lansdowne, Cape Town. I got my license in ’73, and I worked with the late James Polley at the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town. In 1990 James brought me to Grahamstown for the National Arts Festival. To the day it is 25 years that I’ve been here.
“The magic of the film image could be seen in pictures such as Ben-Hur, which was in 3D. It filled the whole screen; unlike the tiny little DVD screen that we have in today’s time. In the opening of each film we would turn the volume up in the projection booth at the opening credits to get people’s attention, especially with the lion from MGM studios. It was just amazing. Projector image, to me, is just the real thing.”
Cue student reporter
This year’s Film Festival is pulled together by veteran curator Trevor Steele Taylor, with a unique range of themes, epochs and cultures that sheds light on the pressing issues of our time. Through this diverse array Steele Taylor shows that great films are an artistic and social obligation.
Nicolas Winding Refn’s 2011 sleeper hit Drive brought the Danish director to the tip of Hollywood’s tongue. The film received widespread critical acclaim with its extravagant visuals, ethereal soundtrack, and a haunting performance by Ryan Gosling. Only God Forgives marks Refn’s directorial return, after Drive, with Gosling following suit.
If you’re any kind of fan of Robert Rodriguez’s acclaimed, neo-noir Sin City (which, let’s face it, you are) you will know that there is another glorious visual-feast on the way. If you are a fan of those films, which you are, you should then want to know where Rodriguez’s inspiration came from – where did this noir business begin?
What happens when a director explores similar themes in related films 40 years apart? Darkly comedic, erotic at times and grippingly surprising, The Wicker Man and The Wicker Tree investigate the role of regimented religion and begs the question: which brand of religion fits the needs of our time?
I used to make art that looked like I threw scrambled eggs onto a canvas. I wasn’t going to make a living, so I moved into film and television – essentially I’m a storyteller; I draw my scenes as part of my planning for all my films.” In Grahamstown for only a day, 82-year-old Robin Hardy, UK film-maker and director of the cult film classic, The Wicker Man, talks about his films and the reasons for producing a follow-up.
The portrayal of individual life and investigations into the relationships between people are recurrent themes in the Fringe’s Cinemazing Short Films package. Margot and the Dolls, directed by Hannah Lax, offers a brief look into the fraught relationship between mother and daughter.
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