One of the more sentimental adages about music is that it brings people together. While that may sound like a statement befitting a Disney movie, its veracity cannot be denied. Kidofdoom, a local band originally from Pretoria, have come together for a reunion tour across South Africa – and with their return comes a host of fans. But the plan is not necessarily to come back for good. So why bother with a reunion? What’s to stop us from just giving old tracks another spin and playing back their albums? The answer is nothing simpler than, performance; because to see them live is something else. They’re not just a bunch of kids mooching about, assaulting our eardrums by banging their instruments together. These are musicians who turn the stage into their playground and then open the gates to let you in.
The Western Cape Cheetah Conservation (WCCC) at Inverdoorn Game Reserve is a rescue and rehabilitation centre for cheetahs. With less than 10 000 cheetahs left throughout the world, it has become one of the most endangered big cats. In addition to rescuing cheetahs and raising awareness about the threats to their survival, the WCCC has implemented breeding programmes in an effort to combat declining numbers in the population.
Admittedly I am not a Trekkie, so I cannot speak with much authority on how Star Trek Into Darkness, the latest addition to the canon, holds up against the original series, spin-offs and numerous films. This brings me to one of the film’s strong points: it stands on its own. You need have no prior knowledge of Star Trek, its characters or its universe to enjoy it. The film does not assume that everyone in the audience is already familiar with its world and it never condescends or bemuses those who are new to the franchise.
This is the story of a misguided man. A man who chose to change the course of his life so that he could be set on the right path. A path of redemption and a path of hope. Joshua Milton Blahyi, or General Butt Naked as he was more famously known, has a rampant history of blood and terror, of violent years submitting to brutal customs of human sacrifice and cannibalism, entailing the slaughter of 20 000 people, many of them children. Growing up in Liberia as a child soldier, his way of life saw him become a powerful tribal priest, eventually recruiting other young boys to follow in his destructive path – until one day he was hit full force with the revelation of his atrocities. He knew then that he had to change course. Remorse and redemption have turned the general to salvation through Christ. Joshua now travels extensively as an evangelist, preaching the word of his Saviour.
Winter has hit Inverdoorn and with the snow on the mountains creating a backdrop that is as magnificent as what we see in summer, the frosty season has its own wonders. The cheetahs, however, are not perturbed about the cold. “They don’t like the rain, but they don’t care about the cold,” says Leah Brousse, the main cheetah handler at Inverdoorn. The rain also means that they cannot always go on their runs. “We do walks, but they can’t run in this weather, because the soil is muddy and they might slip and break a leg. They run when it is dry.” Despite the cold not bothering them, they do enjoy finding a good spot in the sun and during the safari you will see the cheetahs slink onto the knoll in the cheetah reserve where they bask in the sun, their eyelids fluttering shut in contentment.
The main story in Celeste and Jesse Forever is a bit peculiar. The two characters of the title are a married couple who have been separated for six months, yet remain best friends with an indelibly close connection. Jesse battles with his lingering feelings for his wife and his indecision about the future of their marriage, while Celeste seems set to move on. The entire situation is turned on its head when Jesse finds out he is to become a father, but Celeste is not the mother.
Maria My Love is a film as quiet and contemplative as its main character, Ana, who is dealing with the loss of her mother. She is uplifted by new relationships: one with a young man, who becomes somewhat of a guardian angel; and the other with her half-sister, with whom she chooses to reconnect. However, Ana still remains resentful of the mistakes her father has made with regards to her mother and this, along with the lingering devastation of her loss, continues to bog her down.