On Friday 25th at 5pm we have the South African film KANARIE (120mins) In Afrikaans with English subtitles.
Director Christiaan Olwagen filmed his rousing coming-of-age and love story entirely in Afrikaans and backed it with a rousing New Wave soundtrack that, like the detailed equipment, breathes the 80s from every pore. Against the historical background of the apartheid regime, KANARIE shows the wounds that nationalism and religion can inflict on young people - but also how one can find one's own voice in an alliance with other outsiders and learn to fly together.
‘’A gay teen from small-town South Africa serves in the military in 1985 with unique and life-changing results in the rich, poignant and finely observed musical-drama Kanarie.
Given that we first meet Boy George aficionado Johan (Schalk Bezuidenhout) puckishly decked out in a wedding dress, it’s a surprise when he acts so by-the-book upon dutifully joining the Defence Force Church Choir (a.k.a. the Kanaries), a non-fighting chorale that tours the country inspiring soldiers through song.
No stranger to bullying, the conflicted Johan keeps his head down and toes the line in the deeply conservative, devout and homophobic environment. That is, until he bonds with more self-possessed chorale mate Wolfgang (Hannes Otto) and a furtive romance blooms.
How Johan navigates this tricky territory is handled with warmth, authenticity and backbone in the first-rate script by director Christiaan Olwagen, who co-wrote with musical director Charl-Johan Lingenfelder.
The film, which adeptly touches on then-apartheid South Africa’s thorny intersection of religion, politics and racism, smartly eschews lurking melodrama and easy outs for subtle tension, tender symbolism, stirring musical bits and effective flights of fancy.
Bezuidenhout, a South African comedy star with a passing resemblance to Buster Keaton (plus a clear talent for drama), superbly juggles the evolving Johan’s many moods and modes. He receives winning support from both Otto and Germandt Geldenhuys as irrepressible fellow Kanarie, Ludolf.’’ LA Times
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