For thousands of years, South Africans have celebrated and documented their colourful and diverse heritage through the telling of stories. From cavemen recording events as rock art thousands of years ago, to a gathering around the fire to instant messaging in today’s digitally connected world, the art of story-telling has been passed down from generation to generation in our country.
Celebrating the art of story-telling is what Ster-Kinekor is focusing on during Heritage Month, with some great stories, both local and international, playing out on the big screen for all South Africans to enjoy.
The month-long celebration kicked off with the release of Noem My Skollie, which has a strong story-telling thread running through it. The film, loosely based on the life story of the script-writer John W. Fredericks, is a powerful and moving film that celebrates the triumph of the human spirit.
The story focuses on young Abraham who is arrested for a petty crime and jailed. He raises his status in prison by captivating the hardened gangsters with his knack for telling stories, and he becomes the ‘prison cinema’, whilst his childhood friend becomes the concubine of a gang boss. On their release from jail ‘AB’ finds romance with his childhood sweetheart and starts a new path in life as a writer but his friends rope him into a murder for which they all face the hang-man’s noose. Noem My Skollie, Daryne Joshua’s directorial debut, is set in Cape Town in the 1960s.
Ster-Kinekor celebrates Heritage Day on 24 September with the release of another local feature film, Cry of Love, which releases at select Ster-Kinekor cinemas and Cinema Nouveau on Friday, 23 September. The film, directed by Faith Isiakpere and produced by Firdoze Bulbulia of Moments Entertainment, stars South Africa’s legendary songbird Yvonne Chaka Chaka, award-winning actress Leleti Khumalo (Sarafina!, Yesterday), Luthuli Dlamini, Victor Masondo, Jahmil X.T. Qubeka and Ron Smerczak, as well as a talented young cast of newcomers.
Cry of Love is set in the urban cosmopolitan of Johannesburg. The film follows a wise and world-weary woman who nurtures the talents of a generation of gifted young artists, who attend the African Performing Arts Centre, where they can find common ground, unite through music and celebrate the spirit of ‘ubuntu’ (the African expression of ‘I live through you’). This authentic African musical, inspired in part by Fame, features top local musical talent and celebrates their abilities as they are encouraged and empowered.
Through the use of an eclectic mix of modern and traditional African song, dance, drums and jazz, the film combines a compelling narrative with music and contemporary human rights issues.
The third local film whose story will unfold on the big screen during September is the Afrikaans ‘romcom’, Sy Klink Soos Lente, starring Stiaan Smith, Amalia Uys, James Cunningham, Wilson Dunster, Elize Cawood and Bouwer Bosch. Directed by Corne van Rooyen, the film releases at select Ster-Kinekor cinemas on Friday, 30 September.
Sy Klink Soos Lente (She Sounds Like Spring) is about Ben (Stiaan Smith), a mechanic at a car dealership in Johannesburg, and Linda, a beautiful and brainy redhead (Amalia Uys). Linda and Ben’s paths cross one evening and he recognises her as his boss’s daughter – but she doesn’t know who Ben is. There is an instant connection between them and in an attempt to hide his identity, he tells her that he is in a band.
This innocent lie threatens to expose Ben when it turns out that they like each other more than he had anticipated. As a result, he decides if he’s going to be good enough for Linda, he needs to live up to his lie. He makes up his mind to pursue a dream he neglected years ago and starts a band with two of his co-workers. They enter a battle-of-the-bands competition, but soon realise that a music career is rather daunting. And what will happen when Ben’s real identity is revealed to Linda?
But, it is not only local stories that we are celebrating this month. Hollywood has also come to the party with a feast of other great titles to enjoy at Ster-Kinekor cinemas, including IMAX and Cine Prestige. In the ‘romcom’ chapter, you can enjoy the welcome return of Reneé Zellweger and friends in the hilarious Bridget Jones’s Baby, releasing on Friday, 16 September.
If you get your thrills through action and adventure stories, don’t miss The Mechanic Resurrection and Sully (in IMAX) , both of which are currently on circuit, and the much-anticipated remake of The Magnificent Seven, also releasing in IMAX, from Friday, 23 September.
However, if monsters and man-eaters are more your thing, Ster-Kinekor is releasing three titles that are sure to have you squealing and squirming and shrieking in your seat! Don’t miss Ben-Hur (also in 3D) and a scary local story, The Actor, both of which release on Friday, 16 September. A walk in the woods will never be the same after watching Blair Witch, which creeps onto the big screen on Friday, 23 September.
Celebrate Heritage Month at your favourite Ster-Kinekor cinema, as we carry on South Africa’s great story-telling tradition with great moments on the big screen – both local and global.