×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Harvesters’ Reaps Benefits of New South African Wave

Afrikaans Un Certain Regard Drama Boosts Profile of Emerging Voices

In an isolated stronghold of South Africa’s Afrikaaner community, a religious housewife welcomes a hardened street orphan into her home, upsetting a tight-knit family dynamic and setting off a power struggle for a father’s love.

In Etienne Kallos’ feature debut, “The Harvesters,” which premieres in Un Certain Regard, the generational rift at the heart of one conservative household raises broader questions about the role South Africa’s white ethnic minority played in the country’s brutal past, and the place it has in the young nation’s future.

Says Kallos, “There is a wordless legacy that needs to be addressed.”

Born and raised in South Africa, Kallos left the country for the U.S. nearly two decades ago, returning over the course of a career that’s seen him produce two U.S.-lensed shorts that screened in Venice and Cannes. For his feature debut, Kallos saw a “chance through film to go back and understand where I come from.”

“It was just about me connecting to my own country,” he says.

While life in the U.S. has offered Kallos an opportunity to reexamine his roots in a fresh light, helmers back home are bringing a similar vigor to their explorations of a country at a crossroads.

More than two decades since the end of apartheid, an eclectic and promising younger generation of filmmakers is emerging, including Jenna Bass (“Love the One You Love,” “High Fantasy”), Nosipho Dumisa (“Number 37”), Oliver Hermanus (“Skoonheid,” “The Endless River”), Michael Matthews (“Five Fingers for Marseilles”), Jahmil X.T. Qubeka (“Of Good Report”), and John Trengove (“The Wound”).

“The industry is rapidly changing, mainly [because of] this new wave of brave auteurs that are coming through,” says Sibs Shongwe-La Mer (“Necktie Youth”), who’s taking part in the Cinefondation’s Atelier with his third feature, “The Color of the Skull.”

Those auteurs are putting South African identity under the microscope, whether by exploring the country’s troubled racial history or exploring its battles over LGBT rights.

Perhaps just as importantly, South African filmmakers long “trapped by the limitations of our environment” are now finding more opportunities to “connect with the greater financial cinematic world,” according to Shongwe-La Mer.

“[It’s] really allowing these stories that would have never been allowed to even survive in our environment to really thrive,” he says.

More Film

  • WGA Agents Contract Tug of War

    Showrunners, Screenwriters Back WGA in Agency Battle, Sides to Meet Again Tuesday

    More than 750 showrunners and screenwriters have backed the WGA’s battle against talent agencies taking packaging fees and other changes to the rules governing the business relationship between agents and writers. The letter of support issued Saturday is significant because of the immense clout showrunners and prominent screenwriters possess in Hollywood. Several showrunners had recently [...]

  • Doppelgänger Red (Lupita Nyong'o) and Adelaide

    Box Office: 'Us' on Track for Second-Highest Debut of 2019 With $67 Million

    Jordan Peele’s “Us” is on its way to scaring up one of the biggest debuts of 2019, with an estimated $67 million from 3,741 North American locations. Should estimates hold, “Us” will be able to claim several milestones: the highest debut for an original horror movie (the biggest launch for any horror pic goes to [...]

  • 'The Dirt' Review: A Mötley Crüe

    Film Review: 'The Dirt'

    A long time ago, the words sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll carried a hint of danger. The lifestyle did, too, but I’m talking about the phrase. It used to sound cool (back around the time the word “cool” sounded cool). But sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll has long since passed into the realm [...]

  • James Newton Howard Danny Elfman

    New Trend in Concert Halls: Original Music by Movie Composers — No Film Required

    Movie and TV composers are in greater demand than ever for, surprisingly, new music for the concert hall. For decades, concert commissions for film composers were few and far between. The increasing popularity of John Williams’ film music, and his visibility as conductor of the Boston Pops in the 1980s and ’90s, led to his [...]

  • Idris Elba Netflix 'Turn Up Charlie'

    Idris Elba in Talks to Join Andy Serkis in 'Mouse Guard'

    Idris Elba is in negotiations to join Andy Serkis and Thomas Brodie-Sangster in Fox’s fantasy-action movie “Mouse Guard” with “Maze Runner’s” Wes Ball directing. Fox is planning a live-action movie through performance capture technology employed in the “Planet of the Apes” films, in which Serkis starred as the ape leader Caesar. David Peterson created, wrote, [...]

  • Zac Efron Amanda Seyfried

    Zac Efron, Amanda Seyfried Join Animated Scooby-Doo Film as Fred and Daphne

    Zac Efron has signed on to voice Fred Jones while Amanda Seyfried will voice Daphne Blake in Warner Bros.’ animated Scooby-Doo feature film “Scoob.” It was revealed earlier this month that Will Forte had been set to voice Norville “Shaggy” Rogers, while Gina Rodriguez would be voicing Velma Dinkley. The mystery-solving teens and their talking [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content