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.
The horror! First Showmax Original movie for SA
The first ever Showmax Original movie, Rage, has arrived in South Africa this week, with its sights firmly set on fans of horror movies.
The story revolves a group of school-leavers who descend on a tiny coastal town to celebrate their freedom. It is clearly inspired by the Rage festival that goes down in December ever year at various South African coastal resort towns, in an annual display of drunken and disorderly behaviour by teenagers who have just completed their final year of school.
Roxy, Sihle, Kyle, Leon, Tamsyn and Neo party on the beach and drink themselves silly every night. Two townsfolk, Hermien and her son Albert, are welcoming – too welcoming. To make matters even weirder, the 70-something Hermien is heavily pregnant.
On a psychedelic trip on the beach, the friends witness a disturbing birth ritual, which could be a hallucination, or not. Soon, fertility figurines start to appear at random places. What is supposed to be the best holiday of their lives, turns to horror as the teenagers are picked off … one by one.
Rage is directed by Jaco Bouwer, a multi-award-winning theatre director who’s one of three Best Director nominees in the drama series category at the 2020 SAFTAs, for Dwaalster. His short film, this country is lonely, premiered at International Film Festival Rotterdam in 2018. He also directed Die Spreeus, one of the 10 most-watched local series on Showmax in 2019.
Nicole Fortuin, whose previous film, Flatland, opened the Berlin Panorama, stars as Tamsyn. The Girl From St Agnes’ breakout stars Jane de Wet and Tristan de Beer are Roxy and Kyle; two-time Silwerskerm winner Carel Nel (Dwaalster, Hum, Slaaf) is Albert; Sihle Mnqwazana, who co-wrote and acted in The Fall, a New York Times critic’s choice play, plays Neo; Shalima Mkongi (Isithembiso, Nkululeko, Keeping Score) is Sihle; and Fiesta, Kanna and Fleur du Cape nominee David Viviers (Kanarie) plays Leon.
Rage is available to stream now on Showmax.
Netflix premieres its first Saudi animation
Masameer the Movie, the first Saudi animation on Netflix, is based on a popular YouTube series.
Netflix has started streaming Masameer the Movie, the first Saudi animated movie. It is based on a popular YouTube series that has captured the imagination of its audience for years, also produced by Myrkott.
Following its success in theatres, Netflix is now streaming the movie with subtitles in over 30 languages, making it available to more than 167 million viewers in 190 countries.
The Saudi animation sees Dana, a Saudi girl with a passion for robots and artificial intelligence, embark on a journey to create good in the world, using robotics. Meanwhile, three friends, Saad, Saltooh and Kalb, hit rock bottom and go on a journey of their own to prove themselves to society, by becoming crime-fighting superheroes.
Masameer the Movie is directed by Malik Nejer and produced by Abdul Aziz AlMuzaini. Voiceover artists include Abdulaziz AlShehri, Mazroa AlMazroa, Ibraheem AlKhairallah, Shahad AlAhmari and Yusuf AlDakhil.