Comedy gags for all

2013-11-29 00:00

TWO very different South African films open in cinemas today — Leon Schuster’s Schuks! Your Country Needs You and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

Schuster’s latest offering is one of his hidden-camera comedies. The film co-stars his long-time collaborator Alfred “Shorty” Ntombela, comedian Rob van Vuuren and Lare Birk, and aims to prove that, as far as comedy goes, at least, the many diverse peoples of our great country aren’t that different from one another, after all.

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom tells the story of former president Nelson Mandela’s extraordinary life journey from his childhood in the Eastern Cape to his inauguration as the first democratically elected president of South Africa. Absolutely unmissable.

Opening in Durban this weekend is Before Midnight, starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. It has been nine years since we last met Jesse and Celine, the French-American couple who once met on a train in Vienna.

They now live in Paris with twin daughters, but have spent a summer in Greece on the invitation of an author colleague of Jesse’s. When the vacation is over and Jesse must send his teenage son off to the United States, he begins to question his life decisions, and his relationship with Celine is at risk.

Bollywood fans can look forward to two new films: Bullett Raja, which tells the story of Raja (Raj Babbar), a common man who is transformed into a dreaded gangster of the Hindi heartland; and All In All Azhaguraja, a Tamil romantic comedy written and directed by M. Rajesh and starring Karthi Sivakumar, Kajal Agarwal and Santhanam.

Last, but not least, is The Nose, William Kentridge’s dazzlingly innovative production of Shostakovich’s shocking, unconventional opera about a beleaguered Russian official and his runaway nose. Pavel Smelkov conducts a cast led by Paulo Szot as the hapless Kovalyov, with Andrey Popov as the menacing police inspector and Alexander Lewis as Kovalyov’s peripatetic nose.

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