South African Movies

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 The South African film industry is spreading its wings as more good films are being made locally.

South Africa is not traditionally a country of prolific movie making. In an average year, it used to be that the number of feature films made by the local film makers could be counted on the fingers of one hand.

However, things are looking up. The number of “made in SA” films is growing, and what’s more several of them meet the high standards set by such notable predecessors as e'Lollipop (1976), Kalahari Harry (1994), The Gods Must Be Crazy (1998), or Paljas (1998).

Among the new South African productions, there are movies that explore profound issues and make audiences think. There are also movies that are frankly and unpretentiously entertaining.

As one critic said, the fact that some of them are as superficial and as predictable as Hollywood's films is a sign that South Africa has come a long way in the art of making (and churning out) moving pictures.

Take a look at this (by no means exhaustive) selection of newer “made in SA” movie titles. Some of them are from the “thinking” set; some are “purely entertaining”. All are very viewable:

Yesterday (2004) is the first-ever commercial feature-length production in Zulu language. This story about a young mother who discovers she has AIDS was nominated for an Oscar and won several international film awards.

Forgiveness (2004) follows a journey of revenge and forgiveness, centred on a disgraced ex-policeman. This film did the international film festival circuit and won several awards.

Totsi (2005) tells the story of a young thug whose life is changed when he hijacks a car with a baby in it. Tsotsi won the 2005 Oscar for best foreign language film.

U-Carmen eKhayelitsha (2005) is a musical, a version of Bizet's Carmen, set in a modern-day South African township. The film won the Golden Bear at the 2005 Berlin International Film Festival.

Mr. Bones 2 (2008) features South Africa’s most famous prankster, Leon Schuster, and is the highest grossing domestic movie in the coutry, accumulating R34 million at the box office.

Jozi (2009) is a comedy about a script writer in danger of losing his sense of humour in the treacherous streets of Johannesburg.

White Wedding (2009) is a road-trip comedy that treats serious issues with a light touch.

I now Pronounce You Black and White (2010), dubbed South Africa’s first “romantic comedy”, tells a story about love across racial boundaries, from a comic angle.

Spud (2010) chronicles a teenage boy’s first year at an elite private boarding school, which coincides with the important political changes in the country.

Paradise Stop (2011) is a high-speed action comedy set in a sleepy Limpopo town, telling the story of two best friends on opposite sides of the law.

Night Drive (2011) is a thriller set in the bush. It tracks a group of tourists who are stranded in a game park with wild animals when their vehicle breaks down during a night-time drive.

Getroud Met Rugby (2011) is an Afrikaans language movie, a spin-off from a popular local television series, about two broken men is set against a rugby backdrop.

Man on Ground (2011) explores the issues of xenophobia, identity, fear and reconciliation. The film has been selected for the Toronto International Film Festival (8-18 September 2011), where it will premier.

Winnie (2011) is a Canadian-South African co-production, also premiering at the 2011 Toronto film festival. It has been described as an epic tracing the controversial life of one of South Africa’s most revered and reviled figures, Winnie Mandela.

Retribution (2011) premiered at the recent Durban International Film Festival (21 – 31 July 2011). The film’s tagline is: “One man hiding from his past, one man seeking revenge”.

Jock of the Bushveld (2011) is South Africa’s first 3D animated feature film. It was a box office hit locally and it had its worldwide release in July 2011.

Skeem (2011), described as a fast-paced action comedy, is set for release in October 2011.

At the end of August 2011, several feature films were in various stages of production, earmarked for 2012 release: the erotic thriller Sleeper’s Wake; comedy Material; action thriller Vehicle 19; and the first-ever Afrikaans vampire movie Bloedsuiers.

And, of course, when recommending South African movies for viewing, one should not forget films about SA, shot in SA or made with the participation of South African film makers, like the multi-award winning British-South African Skin (2008) or the famous, and also award-studded District 9 (2009).

Indeed, South African film industry has travelled a long way to reach today’s scale and quality.  Be sure to search for the titles mentioned here and other South African feature films, documentaries and TV shows in the bidorbuy Movies & Television category.

  

 

 

 

 

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