|SOUTH AFRICA IN THE CINEMA
GETTING TO KNOW US THROUGH THE MOVIES
Here is a list of films that will make you understand South Africa better
ZULU – 1964
.Zulu is a 1964 historical war film depicting the Battle of Rorke’s Drift between the British Army and the Zulus in January 1879, during the Anglo-Zulu War.
Zulu Dawn (1979) book and war film about the Battle of Isandlwana between British and Zulu military units in 1879 in South Africa. The book was written by Cy Endfield, who co-wrote the screenplay for the film with Anthony Story. The film was directed by Douglas Hickox, and has music by Elmer Bernstein.
Yesterday is a 2004 South African movie written and directed by Darrell Roodt.
Tsotsi is a 2005 film written and directed by Gavin Hood. The film is an adaptation of the novel Tsotsi, by Athol Fugard. The soundtrack features Kwaito music performed by popular South African artist Zola as well as a score by Mark Kilian and Paul Hepker featuring the voice of South African protest singer/poet Vusi Mahlasela.
DRUM, STORIES FROM SOPHIATOWN – (w TAYE DIGGS)
Drum is a 2004 film based on the life of South African investigative journalist Henry Nxumalo, who worked for the popular Drum magazine, called “the first black lifestyle magazine in Africa.” It was director Zola Maseko‘s first film and deals with the issues of apartheid and the forced removal of residents from Sophiatown. The film was originally to be a six-part television series called Sophiatown Short Stories, though Maseko could not get the funding. The lead roles of Henry Nxumalo and Drum main photographer Jürgen Schadeberg were played by American actors Taye Diggs and Gabriel Mann, while most of the rest of the cast were South African actors.
Catch a Fire is a 2006 dramatic thriller about activists against apartheid in South Africa. The film was directed by Phillip Noyce, from a screenplay written by Shawn Slovo. Slovo’s father, Joe Slovo, and mother Ruth First, leaders of the South African Communist Party and activists in the Anti-Apartheid Movement, appear as characters in the film, while his sister, Robyn Slovo, produced the film and plays their mother Ruth First. Catch a Fire was shot on location in South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique
10 episodes approximately Shaka Zulu was a 1986 television serial directed by William C. Faure and written by Joshua Sinclair for the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC). It is based on the story of Shaka, king of the Zulu nation from 1816 to 1828, and the writings of the British traders who dealt with him (as such they are portrayed very positively compared to historical accounts of their actions). The series consisted of 50 minutes each in length. The series was based on Sinclair’s novel of the same name.
THE ROAD TO MECCA1992
The Road to Mecca is a play by South Africa‘s Athol Fugard.
Master Harold…and the Boys is a 1985 film by Athol Fugard, adapted from his 1982 play of the same title. This semi-autobiographical film takes place in South Africa during the apartheid era. depicting how institutionalized racism, bigotry or hatred can become absorbed by those who live under it. The original play was banned from production in South Africa.
The Story of an African Farm (published 1883 under the pseudonym Ralph Iron) was South African author Olive Schreiner‘s first published novel. It was an immediate success and has become recognised as one of the first feminist novels.
Stander is a 2003 biographical film about Captain André Stander, a South African police officer who turned into a bank robber, starring Tom Jane.
In My Country is a 2004 film directed by John Boorman, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Juliette Binoche. The screenplay, written by Ann Peacock, was based on Antjie Krog‘s memoir Country of My Skull.
DISGRACE – (w. JOHN MALKOVICH) 2008
District 9 is a science fiction thriller film released in 2009, directed by Neill Blomkamp. It was written by Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell, and produced by Peter Jackson and Carolynne Cunningham. The film stars Sharlto Copley, Jason Cope and David James. Copley plays the role of Wikus van de Merwe, an Afrikaner bureaucrat assigned to relocate a race of extraterrestrial creatures, derogatorily referred to as “prawns“, from District 9, a military-guarded slum in Johannesburg, South Africa, to an internment camp outside the city. The movie was nominated for four Academy Awards in 2010, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Visual Effects, and Best Editing.
Saul Barnard grew up in a family of woodcutters. The woodcutters are scared of the elephants in the forest, but there’s one elephant that never seems to threaten Saul. Tired of being exploited by wood buyers, Saul takes a stand and his father chases him away. He goes to work on the wood buyer MacDonald’s wood yard, where he gets to know MacDonald’s daughter, Kate, and falls in love with her. After a few years (10 years in the film, 2 years in the book) he leaves MacDonald (and Kate) and joins the first prospectors in the forest, searching for gold. Millwood becomes a small town with hotels and bars and houses. Kate appears again. One night, an elephant makes trouble and MacDonald tells Saul’s brother, Jozef, to find the elephant and kill it. Saul hears about this and sets off to find the elephant before Jozef. The film is based on the novel by Dalene Matthee, which was translated from Afrikaans to more than 10 other languages, although the film differs substantially from the book. If you’ve read the book, don’t expect the same story in the film. A lot of the original feeling of powerlessness that Saul experiences, for instance, is lost in the film. Matthee was a South African writer of note who died on 20 February 2005. Written by Alida Viljoen
Jerusalema is based on the story of Lucky Kunene, an underworld figure who in the 1990s took over real estate in the Hillbrow neighborhood of Johannesburg, South Africa. Writer-director Ralph Ziman learned about how a gang stole a building in Hillbrow through coercion and began researching the phenomenon, interviewing reporters, police officers, social workers, and lawyers and discovering that the phenomenon was commonplace. Ziman wrote the script for Jerusalema based on his research. He said of the film and its title, “I wanted Jerusalema to take a harsh but realistic look at Johannesburg, but I also wanted to reflect the hopes and aspirations of its citizens. When you look at Hillbrow from a distance, it does look like that shining city on a hill, the New Jerusalem that will be our salvation, but when you get onto its streets, you find another story.” The director also used an African hymn, “Jerusalema”, throughout the film, saying of the intent, “[It] might seem pretty cynical but it also underlines a continuing sense of hope.” Ziman also sought to connect the crime wave to the political changes taking place in South Africa.
Hansie is a feature film, produced in South Africa by Global Creative Studios. It is based on the true story of Hansie Cronje. The south African cricket captain who was involved in match fixing scandal The movie was released on 24 September 2008 in South African cinemas and the Collectors Edition DVD on 24 November 2008.
Invictus is a 2009 biographical drama film based on Nelson Mandela‘s life during the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa. Directed by Clint Eastwood, the film stars Morgan Freeman as South African President Mandela and Matt Damon as François Pienaar, the South African team captain. The story is based on the John Carlin book Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Changed a Nation. Invictus was released in the United States on December 11, 2009
The Gods Must Be Crazy 1980
is a 1980 film, written and directed by Jamie Uys. The film is the first in The Gods Must Be Crazy series of films. Set in Botswana and South Africa, it tells the story of Xi, a Sho of the Kalahari Desert (played by Namibian San farmer Nǃxau) whose band has no knowledge of the world beyond. The film is followed by four sequels, the final three of which were made in Hong Kong
Cry Freedom (1987)
is a true story by South African author Sir Percy Fitzpatrick. The book tells of Fitzpatrick’s travels with his dog, Jock, during the 1880s, when he worked as a storeman, prospector’s assistant, journalist and ox-wagon transport-rider in the Bushveld region of the Transvaal (then the South African Republic).The book has become a south african classic