The South African film production landscape continues to set new standards with Five Fingers for Marseilles and Nommer 37 attracting international acclaim.
This weekend saw the national release of Cape Town based Michael Matthews’ Five Fingers for Marseilles. The action packed thriller has attracted the attention of the United States with the film scheduled to feature in New York and Los Angeles’ cinemas from 7 September, before moving to an additional 15 American cities. Five Fingers for Marseilles has also secured releases in Japan and Scandinavia with the production schedule to be available on Amazon Prime, Amazons exclusive streaming video on demand service.
Dubbed as South Africa’s first Western, the witty screenplay is acted out in Sesotho, with English subtitles available for translation. The story revolves around a group of young men (the ‘Five Fingers’) who stand up to brutal police oppression in Marseilles, a town in the Eastern Cape. After fleeing in disgrace, freedom-fighter-turned-‘outlaw’ Tau returns to Marseilles seeking a peaceful life. Upon return he finds out the town is under a new threat, prompting him to reform the Five Fingers to take on old allies and new enemies.
A particularly noteworthy performance comes from Hamilton Dlamini, who is known for his role as Mnqobi Simelane in the e.tv series Umlilo. Dlamini portrays a haunting character named Sepoko, the cruel and volatile ringleader of a gang.
Other well known actors include Generations star, Vuyo Dabula, who successfully plays the part as the hero Tau.
Similarly, Nommer 37, written and directed by local sensation, Nosipho Dumisa, celebrated its World Premiere last month at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival in Austin, Texas.
The Crime Thriller takes its scene in Cape Town’s Cape Flats with Irshaad Ally starring as Randall, a criminal crippled by an injury sustained in a drug deal. Confined to his apartment and wheelchair bound, Randall’s girlfriend Pam (played by local actress Monique Rockman) gifts him a pair of binoculars. Intended to help Randall pass the time, the binoculars become a pivotal tool in helping Randall hatch a plan to come up with the money he desperately needs to pay back a vicious loan shark named Emmie (Danny Ross).
A gripping narrative of desperation, love and greed, Dumisa masterfully produces her own take on Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 classic Rear Window.
Wesgro’s Head of Film and Media Promotion, Monica Rorvik, commented: “It makes us proud that locally produced films are able to premier at leading festivals such as at Toronto’s TIFF & Austin’s SXSW. This shows us that local creatives have earned their rightful place on the global stage.”
Acknowledging the cinematic genius of the two films, Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris, commented: “We celebrate these local masterpieces as they contribute to successfully positioning Cape Town and the Western Cape as the preferred destination for film production. We are proud of Capetonians Nosipho Dumisa, who has emerged as one of our first female feature film directors from Cape Town, and Michael Matthews for creating what is billed the first South African Western. Both cinematic productions skilfully comment on current socio-political issues that plague our country. We congratulate Dumisa and Matthews on the production of two stellar productions.”
WESGRO Press release. 5 Fingers for Marseilles and Nommer 37 attract international attention
Image source: BTG Lifestyle