Archive for the ‘Ralph Ziman’ Category

Goodfellas in Jozi

Jerusalema

All the hype surrounding the 2008 South African film, Jerusalema, which premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival is well deserved. A gangster tale to rival Goodfellas and surely proved inspirational to such films as District 9 and any future South African gangster films in the making. Whilst as local locations go, Cape Town could be used for the French Riveira or Toronto, but Johannesburg as a film location is uniquely South African, so brilliantly captured in Jerusalema and District 9, a vast urban sprawl of cosmopolitan energy to rival Rio, Mumbai or Los Angeles. Jerusalema follows the rise of Lucky Kunene from novice car jacker to Hillbrow slum lord who follows two mantras in life those by Karl Marx that all property is theft and by Al Capone, that violence is a means to the end. Not exactly savoury role models. A gangster and the founder of communism. Lucky Kunene sees himself as the Robin Hood of Hillbrow taking some dignity back to the urban slums of downtown Johannesburg, kicking out drug dealers and prostitutes and claiming the high rise buildings as his own, whilst neglected tenants languish in the outer suburbs of the urban sprawl, too afraid to venture into Hillbrow and fix up the severely neglected tenement buildings.

Gangsters Paradise Hillbow style

Where Jerusalema triumphs is Ralph Ziman’s uncompromising  and skillful direction, depicting some serious social issues in downtown Johannesburg ranging from poverty, crime, drug addiction, xenophobia and inter-racial love, whilst never losing the sense that Johannesburg is a thriving and massively industrious city, where all its citizens are earning money to survive some by less scrupulous means. Johannesburg is as much a character in the film as Lucky Kunene, played with relish by Rapulana Seiphemo with a great supporting cast of South African actors.

The violence is uncompromising, the story gripping and the humanity undeniable all packed into a frenetically shifting urban landscape which remains as uncertain as the characters which inhabit Hillbrow. Jerusalema is heavy on action, great on story line and could rival such crime epics as Goodfellas or The Departed, depicting one man’s attempt to raise above the poverty he was born in and the environment he hopes to escape. Success is naturally as elusive as forgiveness, but the point is made that quite often men can shape their environment, seize opportunities as much as circumstances can shape or break a man’s future.

The fact that Jerusalema was not selected as a contender for the 2008 Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards is more  to do with it not entirely being in Xhosa, whilst the thought-provoking subject matter could rival any recent Foreign Language Film winners, like The White Ribbon and Pan’s Labyrinth.

Film Directors & Festivals
Reviews and Awards
Review Calender
March 2019
M T W T F S S
« Feb    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031
  • “Return of the Obra Dinn” Wins IGF Seumas McNally Grand Prize
    “Return of the Obra Dinn” won this year’s Seumas McNally Grand Prize at the Independent Games Festival. The game was also the Excellence in Narrative winner. Developer Lucas Pope won the same award, a pinnacle in independent game development, in 2014. “Five years I won the award for ‘Paper’s Please’ and I said it was […]
    Brian Crecente
  • Netflix’s Lisa Nishimura Named Indie Film, Documentary Features Head
    In the wake of Bela Bajaria’s recent move to lead Netflix’s international non-English original TV series, the online streamer is shuffling its leadership team to more clearly distinguish between development of its English and non-English language content. As a result, Netflix has elevated Lisa Nishimura to vice president of independent film and documentary features, a […]
    elainelow6742
  • Film News Roundup: ‘Gone With the Wind’ Sets Event Cinema Record
    In today’s film news roundup, “Gone with the Wind” sets a new record, “Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles” is acquired, and Tracy Oliver signs with Topic Studios. EVENT CINEMA RECORD The 80th anniversary release of “Gone with the Wind” has grossed $2.23 million in six nationwide screenings on four dates — a record as the […]
    Dave McNary
  • Splice Raises $57.5 Million in Latest Funding Round
    Splice, a favorite of music creators that allows access to a library of three million rights-cleared sounds, announced today that the company closed a Series C funding round at $57.5 million. That brings Splice’s total amount raised to roughly $102 million since its launch in 2013. It raised a Series B in November of 2017. […]
    Shirley Halperin
  • Fox Entertainment Lays Out Programming Slate in Post-Disney Merger Sizzle Reel (Watch)
    Fox Entertainment unveiled a new sizzle reel on Wednesday night in the wake of the Disney-21st Century Fox merger officially closing, with the broadcaster touting its current series roster. The video features both scripted and unscripted programming across Fox’s lineup. Among the shows featured are legacy series like “The Simpsons,” “Family Guy,” and “Empire.” In […]
    Joseph Otterson
  • Article
    Over the past few years, several low-cost carriers have stepped up to offer competition and cheapest prices to customers looking to cut down their monthly bills. Tags: 2gmhass90