Posts Tagged ‘trevor steele taylor’


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.

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This year the Film Festival has prepared an exciting collection of six Afrikaans films which, unlike in previous years, are subtitled. This of course means that film enthusiasts who have a little trouble “praat-ing die taal” can enjoy engaging new local movies as well as being part of the first-ever screening of two underground films made by Christiaan Pretorius in the late 1970s.

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Oh how Shakespeare would have loved cinema!” the English film director Derek Jarman once said. But given some movie buffs’ comments, he might have been the only one in the audience at this year’s Festival.

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This year’s Film Festival may be regarded as a reflection of, and resistance to the status quo in contemporary society. Trevor Steele Taylor, curator of the Film Festival programme, said that one of his aims with this year’s programme is to “challenge and engage audiences; they may hate it but at least they will feel something”.

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A triple dose of local cinema makes convention go down. South Africa’s 70s stripping sensation who writhed with pythons, André Brink’s love affair with Ingrid Jonker and an examination of the “merits” of terrorism – these three diverse but lip-smacking themes are on the Festival film menu for tomorrow morning.

Trevor Steele Taylor has compiled a vast and varied cinema programme for the Main festival, ranging from international favourites such as Slumdog Millionaire and The Wrestler to a Joseph Strick retrospective and a focus on Filipino film. There is also, however, some fascinating South African fare on the menu. Today sees former Standard Bank Young Artist winner Akin Omotoso directing Aryan Kaganof’s Jesus and the Giant, as well as Anton Kotze’s Safari Obscura, screening at 1.30pm.

Tuesday morning’s Programme 3 provides a triple dose of unconventional local cinema. Kaganof, the enfant terrible of the SA film scene and one of the country’s most original and audacious artistic voices, is back – this time in front of the camera – in By Any Old Light. This doccie, directed by Ca Ca Ca (yes, really) and Dionysos Andronis is a montage of film clips, interview snippets, performance excerpts and conversations between Peter Whitehead, “the father of independent filmmaking”, and Kaganof.

British director Whitehead is best remembered for his revolutionary 1969 indie film The Fall, but has also filmed the likes of Mick Jagger, Syd Barrett and Allen Ginsberg.

Switching styles
The style of avant-garde, postmodern “guerrilla” filmmaking evident in By Any Old Light will not be to everyone’s tastes but there are certainly some interesting propositions to chew on, such as the controversial notion of terrorism as “one of the fine arts”, when protest is nudged beyond anarchy to be an effective method to fight violation and abuse.

The Glenda Kemp mini-doccie made by Michaelis student Genevieve Louw is a beguiling snapshot of a pop-culture icon who bumped and ground her way to fame while scandalising prudes by claiming to be a Christian. Only running for a few all-too-brief minutes, it features split-screen frames of the iconic “snake stripper” juxtaposed with clips of a recent interview.

Steele Taylor explains that Dirk de Villiers made two versions of a movie about Kemp in 1972 – one sexy and suggestive version for international consumption, complete with the stripper writhing suggestively with snakes in all her naked glory, and a “censored” and sanitised one for local audiences, minus any nudity. Scenes from the steamy version surface in Louw’s pocket doccie, and these are rather explicit and suggestive, even by today’s standards.

What Kemp did with reptiles, puppets and the like seems at odds with her rather naive claims that it was the “freedom of dance” and her desire to be an actress that drove her into this profession. The clips of Kemp today – as a rather ordinary-looking matron – provide a striking counterpoint to the raunchy footage of yesteryear.

Passionate chaos
Another tantalising teaser – this time a pilot or promo for a film – is that for André P Brink’s Orgie, directed by Hein de Vos, written by Vicky Davis and starring Jan Ellis and Vicky Davis as the youthful Brink and Ingrid Jonker. Judging by this short trailer, this is certainly a feature film that deserves to be made.

Orgie is Brink’s thinly disguised account of his stormy affair with the troubled poet, who later took her own life. The snippet based on the book shows an orgiastic masked ball reminiscent of Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut, and this and other scenes depict the lovers in various states of attraction, passion and angst, hinting at the chaos to come.

With the music by Lark’s Inge Beckman and Freshlyground’s Kyla Rose-Smith providing an effective backdrop to the madness and turmoil associated with such an intense, complex tryst, this mingling of fact, fantasy and symbolism certainly whets the appetite for more. Could this be the next great South African film? If handled properly, Orgie shows enormous potential.

Programme 3 is at the Olive Schreiner Hall at the Monument Tuesday at 10am

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