February 6, 2013 · 7:04 pm
This film is a must watch for several reasons.
One – because it is a fascinating story, two because of the incredible music and three and probably most of all for the cinema geeks out there – the cinematography in this one.
Swedish-British-SouthAfrican coproduction results in a project where a Swedish cinematographer – Camilla Skagerström did marvels. Rarely do we have a documentary looking this good.
The story has been dug out by Saffa music journalists back in 1990’s. Sixto Rodriguez was a cult artist in South Africa in 1970’s. However, completely unknown in his native America. Rodriguez was more popular in Cape Town than Elvis or even the Rolling Stones. Given the political separation of South Africa from the rest of the world – the artist didn’t know this and the legend in the country of success went that he was dead.
With the development of internet, it turned out that he is not dead and he went to Africa for a tour, where the story actually unveils.
The music sounds well so many years after Rodriguez recorded his first of the two albums (1970 and 1971). Having heard only one of his songs on the radio (“I wonder”) – it stayed in my head for weeks. Such is his music’s power. It is unclear up till now as to why he got no recognition in America. But these are dry facts. A genius musician and artist whose life went differently to how it could have gone. Which is yet another reason to watch this film.
A must – and it’s nominated for the Oscar this year.
Filed under 2012 cinema releases, film reviews
Tagged as apartheid, cape town, censorship, detroit, guitarist, music, rodriguez, singer, sixto rodriguez, working class
May 14, 2012 · 7:31 pm
South African festival traveller by second time director Oliver Hermanus with ambiguously metrosexual Charlie Keegan.
Some 60-year old man (intense Deon Lotz as François) marries off his first of two daughters. His wife is cheating on him, he is cheating on her – one might think: nothing out of the ordinary, nothing we haven’t seen in the cinema before. If only chez Sam Mendes in “American Beauty”. (Unsure as to how consciously the title relates to that drama).
Christian (Charlie Keegan) is an old pal’s son. Together with his family he lives in the far Cape Town – a mere 15 hour drive from Bloemfontein. And it is for Christian that François will fall. A closeted gay for countless years, probably the worst thing is, his younger daughter Anika also fancies Christian and tends to spend a lot of time with him. Jealousy combined with suppressed obsessions and desires – Freud would probably have something to say here.
The plot is quite scary mainly because François does not show his emotions or plans on his face. He is as calculated as a serious killer. He is also unpredictable and unstoppable. What sets of as almost innocent act of observing Christian during the wedding, finishes in one dark place where few would expect to find François. Not only is he a stalker, he is also the predator hunting the victim down.
This is a strong voice in one sided discussion on homophobia, with its old rule – those that are least tolerant, are the ones having lots to hide.
The main success of the film is the casting – Charlie Keegan is the dangerous combination attracting both sexes who never openly admits to being on either side. Hence the tragic jealously of the father towards his daughter. They both think Christian could be theirs. Christian is the embodiment of 21st century title beauty – the perfect Adonis anyone will fall for.
“Beauty” is a shocking picture unveiling how those perceived to be perfectly ‘normal’ citizens, live double lives and are still able to keep the face on the surface, to remain ‘normal’ – in accordance with the main stream, when in fact they are the exact opposite to what they seem.
Powerful cinema with numerous experiments on the level of story telling, soundtrack and space left to the audience for interpretation.
Also check out this amazing review: