It was finally an exciting year again at the Oscars and I think that is because many of the films being celebrated were unique, charming, compelling and actually made you feel good – not a sombre line-up of slow, heavy and serious dramas that actually do nothing but put us to sleep.
It’s that time of year again…Valentine’s Day. A time of flowers, hearts and chocolates; a time to spend a romantic candle-lit dinner with our other half; when the troubles of the world seem to melt away as we gaze into one another’s eyes…and when all the corporates laugh at how they ripped us off for another consumer-driven holiday.
I cannot begin to imagine what possessed me not only to almost miss this film, but to doubt even for a second that it would be anything but brilliant. This is Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson: two of the most masterful storytellers of our time and their rendition of Tintin is an absolute treasure.
Having studied acting and loving movies, I naturally enjoy reading actors’ autobiographies: the most recent one being Michael Caine’s The Elephant to Hollywood. He adeptly captures his 77 years from his humble beginnings in Elephant and Castle during the war to his present in Hollywood and London.
As a bit of a departure from a restaurant – and as a different way to spend extravagantly – make sure you pop into an Oil and Vinegar store. Started in the Netherlands, it has now branched out across Europe and has two stores in South Africa – one in Fourways and one in Pretoria and, hopefully, a third in Cape Town soon.
The summer blockbusters are landing and I do not think I will be seeing many of them. One of the few I have made an effort to see is Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. Perhaps part of its allure is that it reminds me of a time when the summer hits did not comprise solely of sparkly vampires and unbidden remakes.
William Faulkner stated that “The best fiction is far more true than any kind of journalism.” His sentiment could be echoed in a somewhat revised manner that states that the dramatic and the unreal are often far more true than the superficial realities we are faced with every day. This convoluted statement can sum up the collaborative work of Gordon Clark and Leon Botha. Perhaps more simply put, we live in a world but where watching the real makes us become more unreal by losing touch with what is really important.
When life is varied and we meet a plenitude of people we find many sources of inspiration. This is the immediate thought I have when it comes to Sjaka S Septmebir. From an Afrikaans Christian background, conscription in the Navy, self-publishing his novels and immersing himself in performance arts and poetry: Sjaka’s history is a rich one. He is a natural story-teller and I become absorbed in the yarns he tells and think to myself that he must have directed at some point as well. He confirms this and he has recently returned from Grahamstown with The Way Out, which he will hopefully bring to the Western Cape as well before he heads off to Italy for his first time out of the country where he will be joining the exclusive physical theatre group Helikos. He has, however, been all over South Africa Jack Kerouac-style: all the major cities, plenty of little dorpies, hitch-hiking: the whole nine yards.
As Robin Williams so poignantly put it in Dead Poets’ Society: “We read and write poetry, because we are members of the human race and the human race is filled with passion; and medicine, law, business, engineering – these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love: these are what we stay alive for”.
With the World Cup around the corner, this seems like the perfect theme (even if only one of the films focuses on soccer…sort of). Sports’ movies promote many great themes, such as solidarity and perseverance. Due to these themes, one of the most popular stories that emerges is the story of the underdog. This leads to an inevitable and predictable formula; yet somehow these movies manage to retain their individuality and all offer something different.