Archive for January 2nd, 2018

Horrors Imagined

Shadow

Director: Dayakar Padayachee

Cast: Kajal Bagwandeen, Zahir Bassa, Lihle Dhlomo, Geaneviv Pillay, Tazme Pillay, Joshua Milne, Yateen Dayaram, Ismail Ganie, Rizelle Januk

Please note Shadow is classified as a short film.

Shadow had its world premiered at the 7th Annual Durban Gay and Lesbian Film Festival http://www.dglff.org.za/ and  directed by first time Durban based Dayakar Padayachee who explores the psychological effects of guilt, bullying and hidden sexuality through a distinctly horror formula. Shadow is a short horror film created by Dayakar Padayachee and co-written with Edgar S. Rochev.

Shot on a limited budget and using local Durban locations, Padayachee’s first time film is an achievement in developing a story which includes the diversity of Durban’s population as well as giving ample opportunities for rising young actors.

Shadow focuses on a teenage schoolboy Tyrone Sharma whose parents are on the verge of a divorce, while he is grappling with his own sexuality and bullying at school. He confides most of his fears with his best friend.

Shadow also explores the hidden agendas and secrets that parents keep from their children while tapping into the angst ridden anxiety of a conflicted teenager whose life slowly unravels as he starts seeing a ghostly apparition which haunts his own inner turmoil resulting in a dramatic ending.

While the sound quality in Shadow needs to be improved, Shadow is an immense achievement for a first time director. Dayakar Padayachee’s achievement and his definite film sense should be applauded.

Padayachee’s passion for telling fascinating and diverse stories relevant to a contemporary 21st century South African cinema going audiences will benefit the rapidly developing South African film industry as a whole and I look forward to seeing more films from this innovative director.

Shadow as a short film gets a film rating of 7.5 out of 10 and generated phenomenal South African interest especially in Durban when the film was released online in late 2017.

 

Celebration of Humanity

The Greatest Showman

Director: Michael Gracey

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Paul Sparks, Sam Humphrey

Set in the Victorian age, director Michael Gracey’s exuberant and brilliant film, The Greatest Showman is an outstanding musical inspired by Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge.

Oscar nominee Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables) gives an inspiring performance as circus founder P.T. Barnum whose poverty stricken childhood stoked his ambitions to make something of his life. Barnum meets the wealthy Charity wonderfully played by Oscar nominee Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn, Manchester by the Sea).

Audiences should go into The Greatest Showman expecting superb musical numbers similar to Damien Chazelle’s La La Land without the contemporary Hollywood twist.

Barnum soon collects a host of freaks and outcasts to star in the Greatest show ranging from the Bearded Lady wonderfully played by Keala Settle to a Napoleonic dwarf played by Sam Humphrey, all the time justifying his curious show to outspoken critic James Bennett played by Paul Sparks from the Netflix series House of Cards.

To add credibility to the motley crew of performers, Barnum persuades the aristocratic and dashing Philip Carlyle wonderfully played against type by the blue eyed Zac Efron (The Paperboy) to join him as a junior partner in the entertainment business relinquishing Carlyle’s chance of a massive inheritance.

Soon the Barnum entourage are invited to visit Queen Victoria where Barnum meets the dazzling Swedish Opera singer Jenny Lind superbly played by Rebecca Ferguson, who I am glad to see is displaying her electrifying singing talents in The Greatest Showman and certainly makes an eye catching onscreen debut in the opening number in the New York performance scene.

The Greatest Showman is a wonderful musical featuring crisp cinematography by Oscar nominated cinematographer Seamus McGarvey (Atonement, Anna Karenina).

When the narrative needs some dazzling pace, the characters break out into song and audiences that enjoyed some of the best onscreen musicals including Rob Marshall’s Chicago and Tom Hooper’s Les Miserables, will love The Greatest Showman.

The Greatest Showman gets a film rating of 9 out 10 and is highly recommended viewing. Let’s see how this musical fares at the upcoming 2018 Awards Season.

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