Monday, August 22, 2005
Ambience: * * *
Babe Count: * * * * *
My buddies Eran Tahor and Aryan Kaganof have organised a second screening of indie South African films, and the place is packed with people. I'm here with S, and she's looking hyper-edible.
Another buddy of mine is MC for the night... Akin Omotoso, director of GOD IS AFRICAN. And boy, does he have his work cut out for him tonight. The audience is rowdy. And drunk. And pretentious. And all those nasty things that make a Q&A session after a screening very very trying.
Akin introduces the four films up front. "Tonight we'll be watching I LOVE YOU JET LI, directed by Jaco Bouwer." He points at Jaco. People clap. "(IN)SECURITY, directed by Neil Shaw." He points at Neil, and the clapping happens again. "KOFIFI, directed by Mic Mann." Clapping. "And BLOW, directed by Llewelyn Roderick." Still more clapping. And it's all enthusiastic. "Enjoy the movies."
Akin sits down, and the first movie starts. S and I are in the front row, sitting with her buddy, a photographer, and Damon Berry and Digby Young. I LOVE YOU JET LI is a visually interesting experimental film set in an airport departure lounge. It's marred by only two things... a bland and soul-less narration, and the writing of the narration. To my taste, the narration was fairly wordy, and somewhat obvious.
(IN)SECURITY has a very funny setup. It's a couple locked up in suburban paranoia. There's a neat twist near the end, which I won't give away. This movie could be really funny if it were cut in half. It's WAYYYYY too long. But interesting.
The highlight of the evening is KOFIFI. This is an AFDA student film, shot on 35mm. It looks like it had a major budget behind it. It's a rather surprisingly fresh and naive look at Sophiatown in the 1950s, and it's a musical!!! A love story of a black man and a white woman who fall for each other across the colour line (this was considered miscegenation under South African law in those days). The crowd goes wild. A very funny and touching story.
Then BLOW plays. The camera follows a dude doing various deals on his cellphone while on his way to a soccer match. The sound was very poor, and the final twist was inaudible, making it almost impossible to get. Problem is, I'd already guessed what the twist was about a minute into the movie. So I would have been disappointed even if I'd heard it. Also, the art direction was faulty. WHY THE HELL DID THE DUDE WEAR A YELLOW JERSEY, LLEWELYN??? Sewed confusion. (One of the soccer teams in the movie had yellow colours on the poster. The other had red.)
The four directors file onto the stage, and Akin begins the Q&A session, asking each of them a pertinent question about their films. Interesting answers. But the audience is showing its colours. They're ignorant fucks, pretty much. Some chick, Giselle, I think her name is (Kaganof introduced her to me at the beginning of the evening), starts drunkenly heckling early on. And continues all the way through.
She shouts at Mic Mann, the director of KOFIFI, "Why is it a white woman and a black man?"
I shout back at her in exasperation, "What SHOULD it be? A Chinese woman?"
Akin says, "Roy, let her finish her question."
"That's not a question," I mutter. "It's fucking idiocy."
The questions continue in that vein, and I'm getting mightily pissed off at the level of dumbfuckery on display. Sheesh. One pathetic excuse of a human being says, "In (IN)SECURITY, what are you trying to say about reality? And drug addiction?" Aaaaaargh! Watch the movie, people. Don't ask stupid questions. Ugh.
Anyway. The evening's really cool, despite the flaws in the films, and despite the general patheticness of the audience.
Applause to Kaganof and Tahor for taking the initiative.
CORRECTION: These screenings are the initiative of THREE people, not two. They are: Aryan Kaganof. Eran Tahor. And Joel Assaizky. Sorry Joel! I didn't know until Eran told me. Thanks guys.