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Movie of the Week

Homecoming: A film by Beyoncé – Netflix Exclusive

Netflix has released Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé, which presents an intense and intimate look at her historic 2018 Coachella performance that paid homage to America’s historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). She was the first black woman to headline Coachella.

Click here to watch the trailer, and to read about the film.

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Interspersed with candid footage and interviews detailing the preparation and powerful intent behind her vision, Homecoming gives a peek into the process and emotional and physical sacrifices it took to conceptualise and execute a performance that became a cultural movement. This stand-alone Netflix original is now available globally.

Homecoming recognises the African American visionaries who inspired Beyoncé, including HBCU alums Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, activist Marian Wright Edelman, and scholar W.E.B. Du Bois, in addition to cultural luminaries like Nina Simone, Maya Angelou, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Audre Lorde. Beyoncé’s personal knowledge of the relevance and celebration of HBCUs started with her father, Mathew Knowles, an alumnus of Fisk University.

Shot over eight months, the film follows the global entertainer as she returns to the stage after the birth of her twins. it highlights the comprehensive preparation involved in creating her groundbreaking performance, including four months of band rehearsals followed by four months of dance rehearsals. More than 150 musicians, dancers and other creatives were hand-picked by the artist herself.

In juggling dual roles as director of both her live performance and the film that captured the process of making it, Beyoncé said: “It was one of the hardest jobs I have taken on but I knew that I had to push myself and my team to go beyond great to legendary. We knew nothing like this was ever done on a festival level before and it needed to be iconic beyond compare. The performance was a homage to an important part of African American culture. It had to be true to those who know and entertaining and enlightening to those who needed to learn. In making the film and re-telling the story, the purpose remained the same.”

Many in the cast, from band and singers to dancers and steppers are former HBCU students, immersed in the HBCU marching band tradition.  They joined Beyoncé’s own group of performers, some of whom have toured with her for years. Viewers not only get to see the intense dance rehearsals and talent of these amazing artists, but hear their personal journey from HBCU student to artist and the lifelong impact that comes from performing alongside Beyoncé in this historic concert.

“So many people who are culturally aware and intellectually sound are graduates from historically black colleges and universities, including my father,” she says in the film. “There is something incredibly important about the HBCU experience that must be celebrated and protected.”

Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé was directed and produced by Beyoncé Knowles-Carter. Longtime collaborator Ed Burke served as co-director. Steve Pamon and Erinn Williams are executive producers.

Movie of the Week

Kanarie – Now streaming on Showmax

Schalk Bezuidenhout’s breakout movie, Kanarie, is now streaming first on Showmax in South Africa.

Click below to watch the trailer and to read more about the film.

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Schalk Bezuidenhout stars as Johan Niemand, a fashion-loving gay teen in small-town South Africa in 1985, a time of apartheid, religious conservatism and war, an era when not even his idol Boy George had dared to come out publicly as gay yet. 

When Johan is called up to serve his compulsory two-year military training, he escapes the border war by joining The South African Defence Force Church Choir and Concert Group, known as Die Kanaries (The Canaries), where he discovers his true self through hardship, camaraderie, first love and the liberating freedom of music. 

The film was the 10th most popular South African movie at the box office last year.

Bezuidenhout is one of South Africa’s top comedians: the winner of two Comics’ Choice Awards, described by Skhumba recently as “the one white comedian loved by black people.” 

On the basis of his performance in Kanarie, acting might still be his true calling, as much as we hope we still get to laugh with him often on stage. The Los Angeles Times compared him to the legendary Buster Keaton while praising his “clear talent for drama” and the way he “superbly juggles Johan’s many moods and modes,” while FilmThreat raved about his “confident, raw performance.” 

It has a 100% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes; a 7.9 rating on IMDB; and has won 15 awards around the world. As The Los Angeles Times put it, “Kanarie ably hits the high notes… rich, poignant and finely observed…”. Similarly, Indiewire picked it as one of seven films to watch at Outfest, North America’s premier LGBTI festival, calling it a “surprisingly fun” musical about “the effects of nationalism on a tender soul, and the bond of brotherhood among misfits.” 

So whether or not you’re gay, or Afrikaans, or want to support proudly South African products, Kanarie is the film for you, next time you’re in the mood for an uplifting musical love story about finding individuality in a world of oppression and uniformity. Watch it first on Showmax here.

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Movie of the Week

Disney’s The Lion King

The photo-realistic animated version of The Lion King opens in cinemas today, featuring the voices of Beyoncé Knowles-Carter and Donald Glover.

Click below to watch the trailer and to read more about the film.

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Simba idolises his father, King Mufasa, and takes to heart his own royal destiny. But not everyone in the kingdom celebrates the new cub’s arrival. Scar, Mufasa’s brother—and former heir to the throne—has plans of his own. The battle for Pride Rock is ravaged with betrayal, tragedy and drama, ultimately resulting in Simba’s exile. With help from a curious pair of newfound friends, Simba will have to figure out how to grow up and take back what is rightfully his. 

Staying true to the classic story, director Jon Favreau utilises pioneering film-making techniques to bring the iconic characters to the big screen in a new way. Also featuring James Earl Jones as Mufasa, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa and Billy Eichner as Timon, Disney’s The Lion King opens in cinemas this weekend.

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