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Travel Africa With 26 Iconic Movies On Showmax This Africa Month

The borders are closed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t explore your continent this Africa Day, thanks to this starter guide to classic African films on Showmax.

BOTSWANA:

A United Kingdom (2016)

The year before South Africa formalised Apartheid in 1948, King Seretse Khama (two-time Golden Globe nominee David Oyelowo) of the neighbouring British protectorate of Bechuanaland married a British white woman, Ruth Williams (Oscar nominee Rosamund Pike). This upset both their families, not to mention the governments of South Africa, South West Africa, Rhodesia and the United Kingdom, who tried to declare Khama unfit to rule.

The opening film of the 2016 BFI London Film Festival, A United Kingdom is more than just a heart-warming true story of love overcoming all odds: it’s also the story of Botswana’s independence, its transition to democracy, and its fight to retain the rights to any diamonds found within its borders.

Director Amma Asante (The Handmaid’s Tale) won the Black Reel Award for Outstanding World Cinema Motion Picture; Guy Hibbert (Eye in the Sky) won a British Screenwriters’ Award for Best British Feature Film Writing; and South African actress Terry Pheto (Tsotsi) was nominated for a British Independent Film Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Seretse’s sister, Naledi Khama.

A United Kingdom has an 84% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with The Guardian hailing it as “a beautifully shot, crowd-pleasing gem.”

BURKINA FASO:

Mooladé (2004)

Ousmane Sembène’s Mooladé is set in a village in Burkina Faso, where four young girls flee their ritual ‘purification’ to the household of Colle’ Ardo Gallo Sy, a strong-willed woman who has managed to shield her own teenage daughter from female genital mutilation.

Colle’ invokes the time-honored custom of moolaadé (sanctuary) to protect the fugitives but the ensuing stand-off pits her against the village traditionalists, both male and female, and endangers her daughter’s upcoming marriage.

Mooladé won Un Certain Regard and a Special Mention from the Ecumenical Jury at Cannes in 2004. The movie has a 99% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics consensus calls it, “A vibrant, powerful, and poignant glimpse into the struggles of women in modern Africa.” It’s been included in The New Yorker’s list of the Top 25 Films Of The Century So Far, the BBC’s list of the 100 Greatest Films of the 21st Century, and Steven Schneider’s 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.

CAPE VERDE

Nha Fala / My Voice My Voice (2002)

Flora Gomes’ Nha Fala / My Voice My Voice follows Vita, a young woman from a family in Cape Verde that has been cursed: any woman in the family who sings will be struck dead. But while studying in Paris, she falls in love with a musician and becomes an international star. Convinced she’s proved the curse isn’t real, she returns to Cape Verde to convince her family.

Nha Fala / My Voice My Voice won six international awards, including the Laterna Magic Prize at Venice in 2002, and was the only film from Africa to compete at Berlin that year.

Grammy-nominated Cameroonian star Manu Dibango, who tragically passed away from Covid-19 in March 2020, wrote and produced the film’s music.

EGYPT

Bab El Hadid / Cairo Station (1958)

In Bab El Hadid / Cairo Station, Youssef Chahine both directs and stars as Qinawi, a crippled newspaper vendor who falls for a lemonade seller, Hanouma, who is engaged to another station worker, Abu-Serih. As Abu-Serih tries to unionise the station workers, Qinawi’s fixation on Hanouma crosses the line from innocent crush to dangerous obsession.

Cairo Station was included in The Story of Film, the definitive history of cinema, and Chahine went on to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from Cannes in 1997.

The movie has a 100% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Time Out praised it as “a great overlooked masterpiece”, The Guardian as“unmissable”, The Hollywood Reporter as “a jewel of a film” and BBC as “an excellent thriller, and one that anticipates the serial killer genre that Hitchcock’s Psycho kick-started a few years later… a cinematic triumph.”

ETHIOPIA

Harvest: 3000 Years (1975)

Haile Gerima’s feature film debut, Harvest: 3000 Years, is set in Ethiopia and follows a slow-boiling feud between a wealthy land-owner and a protestor who feels he is mistreating his labourers.

Shot during the Ethiopian civil war, Harvest: 3000 Years won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury and the Silver Leopard at Locarno in 1976.

Oscar-winner Martin Scorsese (The Irishman) presented a restored version of Harvest: 3000 Years at Cannes in 2006 and at Tribeca in 2008. As he wrote for Tribeca, the film “has a particular kind of urgency which few pictures possess. This is the story of an entire people, and its collective longing for justice and good faith. An epic, not in scale but in emotional and political scope.” The Tate Modern also honoured the film with a special screening in 2015.

Oscar and Golden Globe nominee Ava DuVernay (Selma, 13th) has hailed Gerima as a “a giant of cinema. A giant, I say.”

ESWATINI

Liyana (2017)

Liyana is a genre-defying documentary that tells the story of five children in the Kingdom of Eswatini who, with some guidance from South African storyteller Gcina Mhlope, turn past trauma into an original fable about a girl named Liyana, who embarks on a perilous quest to save her young twin brothers. The film weaves Liyana’s animated journey together with poetic documentary scenes to create an inspiring tale of perseverance and hope.

Winner of over 35 awards, Liyana is the directorial debut of Swaziland-born-and-raised Aaron Kopp, with his wife Amanda. Before moving into directing, Aaron shot the Oscar-winning documentary Saving Face and the Oscar-nominated The Hunting Ground.

Liyana is executive produced by Emmy winner Thandie Newton (Westworld), produced by Oscar winner Daniel Junge (Saving Face), and edited by Davis Coombe (Chasing Coral, Chasing Ice). Nigerian Shofela Coker created the stunning animated artwork, while South African Philip Miller composed the score.

Entertainment Weekly hailed it as “gorgeous. Unlike any documentary you’ve ever seen,” while The Hollywood Reporter praised it as “A lyrical work, as bright and captivating as it is poignant.”

KENYA

Supa Modo (2018)

Jo (Stycie Waweru) is a witty nine-year-old obsessed with Jackie Chan movies. She’s also terminally ill. When she is taken back to her rural village to live out the rest of her short life, her only comfort is her dream of being a superhero – a dream her rebellious teenage sister Mwix (Nyawara Ndambia), overprotective mother Kathryn (Marrianne Nungo) and the entire village of Maweni think they can fulfil…

Directed by Kenyan Likarion Wainana and produced by Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run, Perfume, Babylon Berlin), Supa Modo has won over 50 international awards, including Best European Film For Children at the European Children’s Film Association Awards in 2019, a Children’s Jury Special Mention in the Generation 14Plus category at Berlin in 2019, and the Audience Award at Children’s Film Festival Seattle in 2019.

Supa Modo has a 100% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes: Variety called it “a tender, bittersweet fable,” while The Seattle Times wrote, “I’m glad movie theatres are dark because I ugly-cried my way through all 74 minutes of Supa Modo. I straight-up bawled my eyes out… Brutal and beautiful, melancholy and joyous, Supa Modo is simultaneously crushing and uplifting.”

MALAWI:

Buddha in Africa (2019)

In a Chinese Buddhist orphanage in Africa, a Malawian teenager finds himself torn between his African roots and Chinese upbringing. Once the star performer with dreams of becoming a martial arts hero like Jet Li, Enock is now in his final year of school and has to make some tough decisions about his future. Will he return to his relatives in his home village or study abroad in Taiwan?

Directed by South African Nicole Schafer, Buddha in Africa was praised by Variety as “a complicated portrait of what’s been described as the latest chapter in Africa’s long struggle against colonization.”

Buddha in Africa screened at IDFA 2019, arguably the world’s top documentary festival, as part of their prestigious Best Of Fests line-up, after winning Best South African Documentary at the Durban International Film Festival. At the 2020 SAFTAs, Buddha in Africa won both Best Documentary and Best Directing.

MALI:

La Vie Sur Terre / Life on Earth (1998)

Abderrahmane Sissako’s 1998 film La Vie Sur Terre / Life on Earth follows Dramane, who returns from France to visit his father in a village in Mali.

Life on Earth is ranked joint fourth on the Tarifa-Tangiers African Film Festival’s list of the 10 best African films of all time and won 10 international awards, including the Grand Prix at Fribourg, where the FIPRESCI critics jury also gave the film a Special Mention “for the high level of the director’s political debate and the loveable, poetic and ironic view on the everyday life of his characters.”

Sissako went on to direct Timbuktu, which was nominated for the Best Foreign Film Oscar in 2015 and named one of the Top 25 Films of the 21st Century by The New York Times, among other honours.

SENEGAL:

Hyènes / Hyenas (1992)

In Djibril Diop Mambéty’s 1992 classic Hyènes / Hyenas, an exorbitantly rich woman returns to her poor Senegalese village and forces it to choose between her patronage and her old flame, now the mayor.

Hyenas was nominated for the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1992 and was ranked joint fourth on the Tarifa-Tangiers African Film Festival’s list of the 10 best African films of all time.

The Hollywood Reporter called it “a wicked skewering of both the rich and those who seek their handouts… Mambety’s beautifully shot and colorfully performed fable entertains, but its final frames are no laughing matter.”

Other African classics on Showmax include:

  • Idrissa Ouedraogo’s breakthrough 1989 film, Yaaba / Grandmother, is the story of two children in Burkina Faso who make friends with an old woman who has been outcast as a witch by her village. At Cannes in 1989, Yaaba shared the FIPRESCI Critics’ Prize with Steven Soderbergh’s Sex, Lies and Videotape and also took a Special Mention from the Ecumenical Jury.
  • Ousmane Sembène’s debut 1966 film, La Noire De… / Black Girl, the story of a young Senegalese woman who is employed as a governess for a French family in Dakar and moves with them to the Riviera, where her comfortable duties as a nanny in a wealthy household are replaced by the drudgery and indignities of a maid. Black Girl won the Tanit d’Or at Carthage in 1966, among other prizes; was ranked joint fourth on the Tarifa-Tangiers African Film Festival’s list of the 10 best African films of all time; and was hailed by Oscar winner Martin Scorcese (The Irishman) as “an astonishing movie.”
  • Ousmane Sembène’s Camp De Thiaroye, about the treatment of the French West African Armed Forces after they fought to defend France in World War II. Camp De Thiaroye won six awards at Venice in 1988, including the Grand Special Jury Prize.
  • Youssef Chahine’s Alexandria Why?, about an Egyptian teen who escapes his country’s tense political climate during World War II through his love of American film. Alexandria Why? took home the Special Jury Prize and the C.I.D.A.L.C. Diploma at Berlin in 1979. Chahine went on to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from Cannes in 1997.
  • Mbithi Masya’s Kati Kati, about a young amnesiac who wakes up in the middle of the wilderness with no idea how she got there. The Kenyan film won the the FIPRESCI Critics Prize at Toronto in 2016; was named Best East African Film at the 2017 Africa Movie Viewers Choice Awards; and won the New Voices/New Visions Award Special Mention at the Palm Springs International Festival, among other accolades.
  • The Nest Collective’s Stories of Our Lives, an anthology of five short films about the queer experience in Kenya. Stories of Our Lives won seven awards, including the Teddy Jury Award at Berlin in 2015, where the jury hailed its “brave and beautiful filmmaking, based on true stories that cannot fail to touch each one of us.
  • Moussa Sene Absa’s Madame Brouette, about a single mother in Senegal who sells goods from a wheelbarrow but dreams of opening a canteen. Madame Brouette won four international awards, including Best Music at Berlin.
  • Flora Gomes’ Po Di Sangui / Tree of Blood, set in a Guinea-Bissau village where the trees planted upon the birth of each child begin falling rapidly and mysteriously. Tree of Blood competed for the Palme D’Or at Cannes in 1996 and won a Silver Tanit at Carthage, among other honours.
  • Raoul Peck’s Lumumba: Death Of A Prophet, about the assasination of the first prime minister of the post-colonial Democratic Republic of Congo. Lumumba won the Procirep Award at Cinema du Reel in 1992, among other international accolades, while Peck went on to earn an Oscar nomination for I Am Not Your Negro in 2017.
  • Dyana Gaye’s Deweneti, which follows Ousmane, a seven-year-old beggar in Senegal, who decides to write a letter to Santa Claus. Deweneti won six awards, including the Special Jury Award at Clermont-Ferrand, arguably the top short film festival in the world.
  • Njue Kevin’s 18 Hours, based on the true story of a rookie paramedic and his driver who spent 18 hours fighting to save the life of a road accident victim who was denied admission at multiple hospitals in Nairobi. In 2018, 18 Hours became the first Kenyan film to win Best Movie Overall at the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards.

Also look out for FESPACO Grand Prize winners like Mweze Ngangura’s Identity Pieces | Pièces d’identités (DRC, 1999), Gaston Kabore’s Buud Yam (Burkina Faso, 1997), Roger Gnoan M’Bala’s Au Nom Du Christ (Cote d’Ivoire, 1993) and Kwah Ansah’s Heritage Africa (Ghana, 1989), as well as Wanuri Kahiu’s Africa Movie Academy Awards Best Film winner From A Whisper (Kenya, 2009).

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Dillan Oliphant Releases First Showmax Comedy Special

In a time where it’s uncertain on when you’ll be able to go watch your favourite comedian on stage again, you’ll find that being home is actually not such “A Lonely Place”! Dillan Oliphant, better known for his flawless delivery of unique dead-pan one-liner comedy, makes for great viewing in his first Showmax comedy special, In A Lonely Place, which premieres on the 18th of May, 2020.

Entering in his 10th year on the comedy scene, Dillan’s laidback and nonchalant stage presence coupled with his unnervingly clever jokes, makes him a firm fan-favourite.

Filmed in front of a live audience at the Melrose Comedy Club, In A Lonely Place, sees Dillan taking to the stage as he retells stories about growing up in his hometown, Eldorado Park, and becoming a man in the township. He puts the spotlight on his own mental and emotional state.

“People can relate to what I speak about. Things that have happened in my personal life, things that I’m passionate about. You might not be able to see me live on stage, but that doesn’t mean you can’t laugh along with me,” says Dillan.

In A Lonely Place marks Oliphant’s second stand-up comedy special, following Oliphant In The Room which aired on DStv in 2018. While nothing compares to experiencing Dillan’s dry humour live on stage, the comedy special will certainly bring you a bit closer.

To stream In A Lonely Place from Showmax you will need a smartphone or smart TV, an internet connection and an active Showmax subscription.

About Dillan Oliphant:

Having entered the competitive comedy industry 10 years back as a fresh-faced young comedian, Dillan has grown from a novice to making waves nationally. Dillan’s command of his art has rewarded him with several notable achievements and accolades which includes Newcomer of the Year Award at the 2012 SA Comics’ Choice Awards and has been part of several highly acclaimed comedy brands include Kings & Queens of Comedy, Blacks Only and Trevor Noah’s Nationwild tour. He has also made appearances on several TV shows including L.O.L, Comedy Central and Late Nite News with Loyiso Gola. Dillan’s first comedy special, Oliphant In The Room, was aired on DStv in 2018. The comedian has also created a strong online presence for himself with his comical videos on social media.

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The Magicians: Escape The Pandemic To The Magical Land Of Fillory

The fifth and final season of The Magicians is now available to binge first on Showmax. Season 5 has a 100% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes and is “without a doubt a satisfying conclusion to an amazing five-year series,” according to TV Fanatic.

Based on the best-selling novels by Lev Grossman, The Magicians centres on a group of friends as they discover their magical abilities at Brakebills University and ward off evil creatures who threaten to destroy Fillory, the magical world they’ve come to know.

All four previous seasons of The Magicians have been nominated for Best Fantasy TV Series by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films, while the series has an overall critics rating of 91% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Memorably described as “Harry Potter meets The Chronicles of Narnia meets the cold, harsh realities of real life” by The Verge, The Magicians was SYFY’s longest-running show on air when it ended this year. The cult favourite has been hailed as “the most entrancing fantasy available on television” by Salon, “the funniest fantasy show on TV” by Indiewire, “the most sexually aware show on TV” by io9, and as “a fantasy show for people who love fantasy shows” by AVClub.

[Spoiler alert] Last season, magic was saved, but at a terrible cost: the life of Quentin Coldwater (Jason Ralph), who died heroically to save his friends— and the world. Julia (Stella Maeve), Alice (Olivia Taylor Dudley), Eliot (Hale Appleman), Margo (Summer Bishil), Penny (Arjun Gupta) and their friends (and frenemies) must learn to navigate a world without him while facing a new threat: in freeing magic, the balance tipped the other way and there’s too damn much of it. As the excess builds, an apocalypse looms. Can the magicians get their sh*t together to save the world without Q?

Admittedly, killing off the show’s lead character in last season’s finale was a controversial move. As Collider says, “To be perfectly honest, I was not looking forward to The Magicians Season 5. The SYFY series has long been one of my favourite shows on television, even more so when it started leaving Lev Grossman’s phenomenal source material behind and began carving out its own path. But the Season 4 finale, in which the show’s lead character Quentin Coldwater (Jason Ralph) sacrificed himself to save his friends and thus exited the series, broke my heart. The hero of this story, the character who so deeply drew me into the world of The Magicians and made me fall in love with this brash, bold fantasy series (first in the books, then onscreen), was gone. I don’t mean to be dramatic, but it’s hard to imagine watching one of your favourite TV shows without its leading character.”

But as Vox points out, “The Magicians has always cheekily leaned into the idea that heroes in fantasy stories too often look like Quentin — which is to say white, male, and conventionally attractive. But most of the show’s characters other than Quentin haven’t fit that paradigm, and arguably Quentin himself, who was bisexual, didn’t either. So killing off Quentin also functions as a kind of meta-commentary on The Magicians’ attempts to transcend both its genre and its source material, in which Quentin remains alive through the end.”

Despite their initial scepticism, Collider, like many others, was won over by Season 5. “The show’s writers find compelling ways to make Quentin’s death meaningful, and it results in some fascinating and ultimately forward-thinking character developments. Moreover (and maybe most importantly), The Magicians is still tons of fun. There are weird creatures, off-colour jokes, and plenty of fantastical twists and turns. And that’s The Magicians Season 5’s greatest triumph. That it feels at once like it’s moving on from the loss of its central character, but also still feels like the same show I came to love.”

We’re as sad, and grateful for the magic, as anyone. But at a time when everything is up in the air globally, there’s also something reassuring about committing to a show that you know has an ending, and a good one at that.

As The Atlantic wrote, “It’s a story made more powerful now, given current circumstances. At a time when many of us are experiencing our own moments of sadness and anxiety, The Magicians series can be the escape the Fillory books were for Quentin… With so many people currently seeking out escapism in all its forms, SYFY’s The Magicians is a fantastic binge watch, an all-consuming experience with just enough light to distract from the global pandemic.”

Fall under the spell of Seasons 1-5 at www.showmax.com.

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‘Run’ Creator Vicky Jones Talks About ‘The Best New Show Of 2020’

The first four episodes of Run, NPR’s “best new show of 2020”, have just arrived first on Showmax, with the remaining four episodes coming every Monday.

Seventeen years ago, college sweethearts Ruby and Billy made a pact: if either of them ever texted the word “RUN” and the other replied with the same, they would drop everything, board the first train after 5pm out of Grand Central Station, and travel across America together. But they’re about to discover that the reality of taking that leap may not be quite how they pictured it…

Emmy winner and Golden Globe nominee Merritt Wever (Unbelievable, Godless, Nurse Jackie) stars as Ruby, opposite Berlin Shooting Star winner Domhnall Gleeson (Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Ex Machina) as Billy. The cast also includes Emmy and Golden Globe winner Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag), who’s also executive producer; Golden Globe nominee Archie Panjabi (HBO’s upcoming I Know This Much Is True, The Good Wife); Screen Actors Guild nominee Rich Sommer (Mad Men, Glow); and Sundance jury prize winner Tamara Podemski (Coroner).

HBO’s genre-defying rom-com thriller has an 83% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics’ consensus praises its “sharp subversions of romcom clichés” and “Merritt Wever and Domhnall Gleeson’s electrifying performances.”

Run is the brainchild of Vicky Jones, who was a writer on Killing Eve, directed the original stage production of Fleabag and went on to script edit that series, which won Best Comedy at both the 2019 Emmys and 2020 Golden Globes.

We asked Vicky about the romance of train trips and the appeal of running away.

Where did the idea for Run come from

Me and Phoebe [Waller-Bridge] had this old joke where we’d whisper “Run!” to each other in any situation we wanted to escape from. I also wanted to write a romance about the little routines that develop between couples, the beautiful details and minutiae of relationships behind closed doors. So we had this idea of this couple coming back together after years apart, that led to this premise of a pact [where] they would walk out on their lives, meet on a train platform and go on this journey together.

Why is the idea of breaking free and reinventing your life so alluring?

Nowadays we have so many choices but as life happens, those paths close down. Worrying that you took the wrong option and wondering about what might have been is only human. We might pin those feelings from a certain person and fantasise about the idea of dropping everything for them. In some ways, it’s a really exciting idea. Time goes so fast. You leave school or college and suddenly you’re in your late 30s, still feeling like the same person inside but with all these grown-up commitments. Maybe we’re secretly all feeling like it happened too quickly.

Did you set out to write a story that would cross genres?

Mainly we just wanted it to be exciting. We wanted to investigate what makes people fall passionately in love, what makes you feel so safe and accepted that you can say anything, do anything, and be your true authentic self with that person.

But, of course, you can’t have a drama without conflict. Other things come crashing into their world. There’s an element of “be careful what you wish for”, exploring what happens when you step outside your obligations. Wonderful, magical things happen, but terrible things too.

Apart from the Before Sunrise films, what else did you look to for inspiration?

Hitchcock’s Strangers On A Train, of course. We watched lots of road trip movies like Badlands. And I always reference Nora Ephron. When Harry Met Sally’s influence can be detected in everything I do. I aspire to the gorgeousness of that back-and-forth.

What is it about trains and romance?

I love a train journey. I love that feeling of being out of life, of stepping into another world. Time seems to operate differently on trains. It’s like a microcosm of the real world. Ruby and Billy feel like they’re secretly trying something, just to see. They’re in denial about what they’re doing and because they’re shut away from everyone with no phone signal, it’s almost like nobody will notice they’ve gone… But of course, they do notice.

Tell us a bit about the characters…

Ruby is a lot braver than she thinks she is. She’s fallen into a way of behaving with her husband that isn’t who she used to be with Billy. She rediscovers her authentic self through the journey.

Even though he’s very flawed, Billy’s love for Ruby is deep and true and he’s made vulnerable by that. It’s nice to write a man who’s driven by his need for a woman.

What were Domhnall and Merritt like to work with?

I still can’t believe that I get to work with actors that extraordinary. They constantly surprise you. Sometimes you have no idea whether a line is going to work until they come out with it and then they do something that breaks your heart. They make you look good!

Watch Run on Showmax: www.showmax.com/eng/tvseries/3tl7eldr-run

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A+ for Hugh Jackman’s “Career-Best Performance” In Bad Education

The times they are a-changin. Bad Education was the biggest sale of last year’s Toronto International Film Festival and features Hugh Jackman’s best ever performance, but will never screen in cinemas, and isn’t eligible for Oscars, even after the Academy changed the rules this year. Instead, the film chose to stream first on HBO (and, a week later, on Showmax in South Africa) – a decision that Variety describes as “a sign of the future… a game-changer, a cutting-edge example — or maybe you could call it a casualty — of the shifting sands of movie distribution,” where great movies will compete “not for the Oscars but for the Emmys.”

BADED_29OCT18_0125.RAF

Bad Education is based on the real-life scandal that went down at writer Mike Makowsky’s high school, where the single largest public school embezzlement scheme in American history was uncovered – by a student journalist, no less. What’s more, as the movie tells it, she was encouraged in her investigation by the school supervisor, a dedicated and highly respected educator, and the very man her article would ultimately land behind bars.

In the lead role of charismatic school supervisor Dr Frank Tassone is Oscar nominee and Golden Globe winner Hugh Jackman (The Greatest Showman, Les Misérables, X-Men). Oscar, Golden Globe and seven-time Emmy winner Allison Janney (I, Tonya, Mom, The West Wing) and Golden Globe nominee and Emmy winner Ray Romano (The Irishman, Everybody Loves Raymond) co-star. The cast also includes MTV Movie + TV Awards nominee Alex Wolff (Hereditary), Geraldine Viswanathan (Miracle Workers), and Kathrine Narducci (The Irishman, Godfather of Harlem).

“I know the film is called Bad Education,” Makowsky told Vanity Fair, “but it’s a bit of a misnomer…. I had an incredible education there. And I think it’s in large part, strangely, due to this man, Frank Tassone… It was a… complicated, awful thing: this very affable, charismatic person who placed a real emphasis on the quality of education and helping students, then at the same time, you hear that he’s been taking money from the coffer and was part of this $11.2m scheme. It really shocked everyone…”

“I think that’s what drew me to it,” says Jackman. “How can people who spend their lives dedicated to kids and education end up going so far off the rails? How does that little white lie or whatever it began with snowball?”

Bad Education, which premiered to critical acclaim at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival and has had a similar reception on HBO, has a 93% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Much of that praise is for Jackman. Rolling Stone calls it “a career-best performance”, Variety says “it’s the best work he’s ever done”, and awards-watch site Gold Derby calls both Jackman and Janney “strong contenders” for the Emmys, where they predict Bad Education will be “a major Emmy contender in the race for Best TV Movie.”

As Time Magazine put it, “HBO’s gripping Bad Education tells the story of a truly epic scam… It’s fun to put ourselves in the hands of expert bamboozlers, and in Bad Education, Janney and Jackman are exactly that… These are people we can’t trust, played by actors we trust implicitly.”

Watch Bad Education on Showmax: www.showmax.com/eng/movie/ybtxzbg5-bad-education