SA movies Cannes cut it

2010-05-15 00:00

THE Bang Bang Club, the film that tells the story of four photographers who come of age working on the frontline of South Africa’s hidden war during apartheid, will have its world premiere tomorrow at the 63rd Cannes Film International Festival.

Told through the eyes of Greg Marinovich, the youngest of the four photographers, The Bang Bang Club is based on the book of the same name, and chronicles his journey from a broken home in a privileged Johannesburg suburb to become a Pulitzer-Prize-winning photographer in the heart of the bloodiest combat zones of black South Africa.

Directed by Steven Silver and starring Ryan Phillippe, the film is one of several locally produced movies being presented at the festival by Anant Singh and Videovision Entertainment. Other films being screened are The First Grader, Jozi, Outrageous and My Hunter’s Heart.

The First Grader, which is inspired by a true story, stars Naomie Harris (Pirates Of The Caribbean) and Oliver Letondo. It’s directed by Justin Chadwick (The Other Boleyn Girl) and written by South African-born Emmy winner Ann Peacock.

In a primary school in the Kenyan bush, Maruge (Litondo), a Mau Mau veteran in his eighties, causes a stir by learning to read alongside six-year-old children.

The film is a Videovision Entertainment co-production with BBC Films, Sixth Sense Productions and Origin Pictures, with support from the UK Film Council’s New Cinema Fund. The First Grader will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Jozi, which uses the city of Johannesburg as a backdrop for its narrative, is a fresh, innovative comedy directed by Craig Freimond and produced by Singh, Helena Spring and Robbie Thorpe. The film has been critically acclaimed. Movie critic Leon van Nierop describes it as “a South African comedy without clichés and slapstick”.

Another comedy being screened at the festival is Outrageous, which features South African stand-up comedians John Vlismas, Barry Hilton, Mark Banks, Loyiso Gola, Joey Rasdien, Krijay Govender and Riaad Moosa.

Last but not least is My Hunter’s Heart, made by the award-winning documentary filmmaking team of Craig and Damon Foster. The film, shot over three-and-a-half years, explores the world’s most ancient shamanic culture and how it is now at the brink of extinction.


VIDEOVISION Entertainment acquired the South African rights to Woody Allen’s You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger and Ken Loach’s Route Irish on the opening day of the Cannes International Film Festival.

You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger follows a pair of married couples as their passions, ambitions and anxieties lead them into trouble and out of their minds. It stars Anthony Hopkins, Gemma Jones, Freida Pinto, Naomi Watts, Josh Brolin and Antonio Banderas.

A late entry for the Cannes Film Festival, Route Irish is an Iraq -themed film that tells the story of Frankie and Fergus who work as private security contractors in Iraq. When Frankie is killed, Fergus rejects the official explanation and starts to investigate the truth of his friend’s death.

Both films will be released in SA this year through United International Pictures.


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