Three women on Long Street

2010-09-25 00:00

ACCLAIMED director Revel Fox’s new film Long Street, which opened in cinemas yesterday, is an intimate, honest film, which draws on the real-life experience of Fox’s own daughter, who battled with drug addiction while trying to make it as a musician.

Set in Cape Town, the film looks at the fragile relationship between recovering drug addict Sia (Sannie Fox) and her mother Maria (Roberta Fox) — two women who have stopped trusting each other, and whose relationship is a simmering sea of anger and disappointment.

At the same time, Sia’s father Wesley (David Butler) is suffering from writer’s block and is keen to reconcile with his daughter and estranged wife, but cannot find a way to express himself.

Enter a Zulu singer named Andiswa (Busi Mhlongo, in one of her last appearances before her death), whose commanding presence and musical genius bring mother and daughter together again.

“I wanted to make a film that is both entertaining and helpful to people,” Fox says of Long Street. “Taking my cue from the music, I wanted to pass on something I had learned, to connect with people who are going through similar experiences. Watching the three women — Busi, Roberta and Sannie — as the story unfolded was an unforgettable experience.”

Cape Town’s iconic Long Street gave the film its name and provides the backdrop for the story about the path this mother and daughter have to travel before they can be reconciled. “Long Street is the spine of Cape Town,” says Fox. “It’s where people hang out, where musicians rehearse and perform. I enjoyed blurring the lines between the film and Cape Town itself. The city is the star, so we recorded its secret places, its changing history, its walls and, of course, the mountain.”

Actress and songwriter Sannie Fox’s blues-rock band Machineri features prominently in the film, as does the music of Mhlongo. Speaking about the soundtrack, producer Florian Schattauer said: “The highlight of making the film was definitely the opportunity to work with many wonderful musicians, like Busi Mhlongo, Sannie Fox, Leslie Javan, Alex van Heerden and Greg Georgiades. They brought something very unique to it.”

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