• Culture,  Film

    Nommer 37 – A South African Ode to Hitchcock

    Much has been said about the fact that Nosipho Dumisa has made an ode to Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window with her debut feature film, Nommer 37 (Number 37), and, for good reason. The film features the legendary British director’s infamous touch-points of suspense in its story-telling. But beyond an homage to a legend of filmmaking, Nosipho’s given us a calling card, of her skills as a filmmaker in her own right. She’s got a keen eye – and ear – for what creates tension, anticipation, and frustration, but also for taking the sound of a good idea and turning it into a good film.  The premise is centred on Randal (played…

  • Film,  Miss N

    Wanuri Kahiu brings Rafiki to Cannes

    When the credits rolled and the lights came up at the end of her film’s premiere in the Palais des Festival, director Wanuri Kahiu stood next to her lead actresses Samantha Mugatsia and Sheila Munyiva, all dressed in off-white outfits, taking in the acclaim of a standing ovation. Someone in the audience shouted, ‘Thank you!’ and Kahiu put her hand over her heart. Festival director Thierry Fremaux motioned for them to look up and see just how many people were clapping in the theatre’s balcony seats too, lauding the first Kenyan film to ever debut at the Cannes Film Festival. “What’s incredible about the response is that people are so…

  • Film

    This is Black Panther

    In Blood Diamond, Leonardo DiCaprio’s Zimbabwean ex-mercenary utters a line that became one of those oft-heard film quotes. As a means of explaining the way things work – or don’t work – on the continent, he tells co-star Jennifer Connelly, “TIA.” When she doesn’t get his homemade-acronym the first time around, he spells it out: “This. Is. Africa.” It may have taken over a decade, but you could say Black Panther is the cinematic blockbuster retort to that. A long-awaited clap-back in the form of a roar.  This is Africa. Yes, it’s a heightened, idealized version of it — where vibranium, not diamonds — is the major resource. Yes, it’s…

  • Culture,  Film

    Three Billboards & Twenty-three Miles

    Another Toronto Film Festival has come and whooshed by! I’ve been asked what my favourite films from this year’s fest are. And what a coincidence – I made a running video about them. Another coincidence? Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which won the Grolsch People’s Choice Award was my top film too. Frances McDormand needs to win all the awards for her role in it, where she plays a grieving mother who takes up a drastic move to solve the mystery of her daughter’s brutal death. Sam Rockwell, too, shines, in this film from director Martin Mcdonaugh, who brought us In Bruges and Seven Pyschopaths.

  • Culture,  Culture on the Run,  Film

    19 Hours in Bangor

    “I was about 8 miles from here when I started to write The Dark Tower” Stephen King said, wearing a cap with the city’s name emblazoned on it. “Bangor is home.” I went to Maine for the first time ever, to see sites and places that have inspired the King of suspense and the supernatural. King grew up in a little town in southern Maine, “with more graveyards than people,” as he describes it, and no running water. He came to the University of Maine in 1966, and soon he and his wife Tabitha settled in Bangor, with its population of just over 31 000 people. Taking a tour of the…