Archive for the ‘Donovan Marsh’ Category

Surviving School for the Absurd

Spud

 

 

Spud the film adaptation of the bestselling novel by John van de Ruit concerns the trials and tribulations of a schoolboy on the threshold of puberty going to a private boys school in the Natal Midlands abounds with literary references from Joseph Heller’s Catch 22 to Beckett’s Waiting for Godot.

The allusions to the Theatre of the Absurd is not lost on John Milton, the 13 year old boy, nicknamed Spud who escapes his wacky household in Durban North and thrust into the crazy, cruel and bullying world of schoolboys all attempting to be part of a dorm gang who resemble more Lord of the Flies than Dead Poets Society. From the wild antics of his fellow classmates Spud finds refuge in his literary conversations with his English Teacher, Guv, a spot on performance by John Cleese, who is both witty and fragile as a man trapped in an environment he clearly would like to rise above, but cannot gather the courage to do so. The ever sickly and accident prone Gekko becomes Spud’s best friend offering advice on girls, moral support and non-conformity, whilst giving Spud perspective on the situation he is in from their journeys up to Hells View.

Spud is a superb South African film, which has the right balance of pathos and panic, humour and character with great cinematography, first class casting and a real sense of capturing the period of Transitional South Africa in the early 1990’s.

Directed by Donovan Marsh  and produced by Ross Garland who also brought the insightful 2007 film based on the memoirs of Radya Jacobs Confessions of a Gambler to the big screen, Spud is drawing in the crowds at all local cinemas gaining the  honour of the highest grossing film in SA in the opening week. Both Spud and Confessions of a Gambler deal with characters who go on emotional journeys in hostile environments which are unsympathetic to their own personal growth,  showing their own humanity and tenacity, which inevitably shines through.

catch_twenty_two

With John Cleese and Troye Sivan giving excellent performances of teacher and pupil who both go on an often hilarious but very different change of life journeys, Spud is sure to break into the International film scene with the same dexterity that the title character manages to navigate his way through the first year of boarding school in an environment which is as ludicrous as Catch 22  and as treacherous as Dicken’s Oliver Twist.

Film Directors & Festivals
Reviews and Awards
Review Calender
February 2018
M T W T F S S
« Jan    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728  
  • PopPolitics: Feras Fayyad Counters Russian Effort to Discredit ‘Last Men in Aleppo’ (Listen)
    WASHINGTON — Feras Fayyad, the director of the documentary “Last Men in Aleppo,” says that a Russian media effort to discredit the movie isn’t only aimed at undermining its Oscar chances and the freedom of filmmakers. “It is about bigger than me as a director,” he tells Variety‘s “PopPolitics” on SiriusXM. “It is about banning […]
    Ted Johnson
  • Our Staff Picks: TV Shows to Watch the Week of Feb. 26, 2018
    Welcome back to Tune In: our weekly newsletter offering a guide to the best of the week’s TV. Each week, Variety’s TV team combs through the week’s schedule, selecting our picks of what to watch and when/how to watch them. This week, “Atlanta” returns for its much-anticipated second season and the Academy Awards will crown […]
    Joseph Otterson
  • ‘Black Panther’ Powers Past $300 Million at International Box Office
    Disney-Marvel’s “Black Panther” has grossed an impressive $83.8 million in its second weekend in about 83% of international markets, lifting the superhero tentpole to $304 million overseas. “Black Panther,” starring Chadwick Boseman as the king of a fictional African nation, now has a worldwide total of $704 million through Sunday — making it the 10th […]
    Dave McNary
  • Berlin Film Review: ‘America: Land of the Freeks’
    Ulli Lommel, director and MC of the gonzo mockumentary “America: Land of the Freeks,” is the sort of scurrilous Euro art scavenger you’d be happy to see a real documentary about. Born in Germany in 1944, he started off as an actor, becoming part of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s mutating stock company (he was the Godardian […]
    Owen Gleiberman
  • TV Ratings: Winter Olympics Hit Back-to-Back Lows in Final Days
    The closing days of the 2018 Winter Olympics saw steep declines in the Nielsen ratings. Friday night’s primetime coverage of the Games from Pyeongchang, South Korea, drew a combined 9.2 rating in metered market households on NBC and NBC Sports Network. That is down approximately 28 percent from the previous night’s coverage. That is also […]
    Joseph Otterson