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
December 2017
M T W T F S S
« Nov    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031
  • Disney to Buy 21st Century Fox Assets for $52.4 Billion in Historic Hollywood Merger
    The Walt Disney Co. has set a $52.4 billion, all-stock deal to acquire 20th Century Fox and other entertainment and sports assets from Rupert Murdoch’s empire. The deal between Disney and 21st Century Fox marks a historic union of Hollywood heavyweights and a bid by Disney to bolster its core TV and film businesses against […]
    Brian Steinberg
  • MICA: Mexico’s Film Tank Pitches to the Small Screen with Genre Thriller ‘Dead Days’
    Film Tank, one of Mexico’s most prominent independent production companies behind hits “Northless” and “The Maid,” will be enlisting years of big-screen experience in a move to TV with their latest project in development, a high-concept genre thriller titled “Dead Days.” Film Tank CEO and producer Edgar San Juan pitched the idea at Mexico City’s […]
    John Hopewell
  • Asian Brilliant Stars Take Wider Perspective for Second Edition
    “Youth,” “Wolf Warriors 2,” “Dangal,” and “Bad Genius” are among the prominent film titles that will compete for the Asian Brilliant Stars awards. The prizes will be announced in February in Berlin. The Awards’ launch event in Beijing on Tuesday took on a interesting political tinge with one of the jurors criticizing China’s restrictions on […]
    Patrick Frater
  • Issa Rae’s Talent Drive Leads to Sci-Fi Pilot ‘The Awoken’
    Buyers in L.A. will get a first look at “The Awoken” on Thursday, a new pilot presentation emanating from Issa Rae’s drive to find TV writers from under-represented sections of society. Rae, creator, co-writer and star of HBO’s “Insecure,” has spearheaded the Fresh Wave! initiative through ColorCreative, the production company she runs with producing partner […]
    Stewart Clarke
  • Australian Animation ‘Arkie’ Sold to Vision for China Release
    Australian-Canadian animated feature “Arkie” has been acquired by Vision Film Entertainment for distribution in China. Vision says it expects to release the film in 10,000 Chinese theaters. The story is a fantastical adventure about an inquisitive young girl who leaves home for an epic journey to the dangerous metropolis where she needs to rescue her […]
    Patrick Frater