Shown as part of the kykNET Silwerskerm Festival in Camps Bay until Saturday 30 August 30 2014.
STEYN DU TOIT
Fifteen new short films were commissioned and produced by kykNET for this year’s Silwerskerm Film Festival. Often shot under tight time and location constraints, this programme component speaks of a highly skilled, creative and fearless local industry with no shortage of newcomers, interesting voices and stories to tell.
A film that not only takes its cue from art house cinema, but also thoroughly understands the mechanisms of the genre, is Jan-Hendrik Burger’s Almon, Henry. Written by, and starring Nataniël alongside Armand Aucamp, this contemporary take on Beauty and the Beast is stylish, well-crafted and could easily retain its poignant message even if all the dialogue were cut from it. As a director/visual poet, Burger’s attention to detail is very impressive. Combined with Nataniël’s performance, spectacular costumes and trademark bon mots, this is by far one of the programme highlights.
A poor white family find themselves at their wit’s end in Charles J. Fourie’s Agterplaas. It is based on his acclaimed play by the same name. Squatting in a caravan in Tant Klets’ (Esther von Waltsleben) backyard, Pa Frans de Beer (Deon Lotz), a former Yskor employee, now spends his days begging for booze money at traffic lights while Ma Sannie (Deirdré Wolhuter) can but only yearn for a better life for her children.
While the characters’ zef dialogue and the vividly destitute set design might have you laughing at first, this is by no means a comedy at the expense of those finding themselves in similar, real-life scenarios. Instead, Fourie’s writing and direction shows compassion and pays tribute to an increasingly growing group of desperate citizens – most of them casualties of our current economic climate – trying to make sense of being banished to society’s fringe.
After being knocked against the head by a golf ball in a freak accident, the titular character in Ben se Begrafnis drops dead at the start of the movie. A month later, however, Ben (Neels van Jaarsveld) miraculously wakes up in the morgue. But, after making his way back home, he soon learns that perhaps it would have been better to stay dead. Directed by Andrew Gould [amended 3 September 2014 – Eds.], what follows is a satire about how life continues at all costs, as well as a comment on our society’s obsession with “moving on” instead of taking the time to grieve for the loved ones we've lost.
Steeped in philosophy and imagining the increasingly likely world of simulated realities, Haddad Viljoen’s Iemand Anders stars Albert Pretorius as a thirty-something middle-class hamster growing increasingly aware that all is not what it seems with the world. Written by Tertius Kapp (Rooiland), this is another intelligent, genre-bending programme offering.
Two other films that stood out over the festival’s first few days were Die Laaste Ure, a gritty, disturbing thriller by Jarrod de Jong set during the 80s and starring André Odendaal as a serial killer with a split personality; as well as Eenrigting, a quirky, laugh-a-second comedy about a woman being sent back to earth in another person's body after accidentally being knocked over by a car driving up a one-way.
For the full Silwerskerm Festival programme, see www.facebook.com/silwerskermfees or follow @SilwerskermFees on Twitter.