Skoonheid star proud of Cannes reception

Cape Town – South African actor Deon Lotz has returned to South Africa a happy man after the film he stars in, Skoonheid, received positive reviews and awards at the 64th Cannes Festival.

Lotz said that his time at the prestigious festival was a "phenomenal experience" and that South African filmmakers should challenge themselves to ensure that South Africa is represented at the festival every year.

Skoonheid grabbed headlines as the first Afrikaans film to be entered in competition at Cannes. Competing for the Un Certain Regard prize at the festival (which was won by two films this year - Arirang from South Korea, and Halt Auf Freier Strecke from Germany) Skoonheid walked away with the Queer Palm award for its contributions to lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender issues.

Olympic Games of cinema

The film tells the story of Francois (played by Lotz), a middle-aged, devoted family man living in Bloemfontein who becomes infatuated with Christian (Charlie Keegan), the 23-year-old son of a long-lost friend. The film charts his struggles with self-hate and the implications of his new attraction.

"The award was a wonderful recognition for what we had achieved within the genre," said Lotz. He also praised the movie's 27-year-old writer-director, Oliver Hermanus. "He put his whole heart into it and wrote a wonderful script. He is a very intelligent young man."

Lotz called the Cannes Film Festival "the Olympic Games of cinema" and said he felt proud to represent South Africa at the event.

"At the premiere we were introduced onstage. I looked up and saw 2 500 people looking back at me. After the screening, when the lights went up, people were standing and applauding. It was a proud moment, not just for Skoonheid but for South Africa."

Lotz also stars in the Afrikaans drama Roepman (currently on circuit) which was also showcased at Cannes.

Skoonheid is expected to be released in South Africa in August. Watch the trailer here:

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