Monthly Archives: June 2010

Directory of World Cinema: Australia and New Zealand

A few weeks ago I posted on the new series of World Cinema Directories from Intellect. The latest one to be free online before the print edition is published is Australia and New Zealand, edited by Ben Goldsmith and Geoff Lealand. This directory follows the same outline structure as the Japanese Directory. The main difference for me as a reviewer is that I have taught aspects of Japanese Cinema, but I’ve not tackled either Australian or New Zealand Cinema – only a handful of selected films for specific purposes. I hope this means I can be more objective about the usefulness of the whole project to students and cinephiles generally.

There is one other obvious difference comparing this publication with the Japanese Directory – two separate industries and two editors. In practice, the major part of the guide is devoted to Australian Cinema and New Zealand gets only around 66 specific pages out of 340 overall. As far as contributors are concerned, it is significant that nearly all are academics (i.e. no film journalists). Both countries have developed academic film studies in parallel with the UK and North America so that all the contributors are based in one or the other of the two countries. Compared to the Japanese Directory, I recognised many more names, including some from the ‘Senses of Cinema’ website based in Australia.

The Australian section picks out four directors and a number of genres for essays with accompanying short entries on individual films. The four directors are Peter Weir and Baz Luhrmann and two more surprising choices – Cecil Holmes, a director working in the 1950s-70s that I was unaware of, and Michael Powell, who made two features in Australia after his forced exile from British Cinema. The genres selected are: ‘Bushranger’, War Cinema, Crime, Prison, ‘Period’, Comedy, Coming of Age, Horror, Road Movies, Science Fiction and Fantasy, ‘Ozploitation’ and Short Films. The essays begin with ‘Disability in the Australian Cinema’.

The New Zealand section features three directors – Shirley Horrocks, Shuichi Kothari and Vincent Ward. There is a general section on ‘Genre and Themes’ with various short essays, an Introduction addressing ‘New Zealand Film in 2009’ and a separate short section on Experimental Film. Overall the number of short film reviews is much less than in the Australian section.

There is also a comprehensive Bibliography and a listing of useful websites.

From my perspective of comparative ignorance, two points about the contents of the Australian section stood out for me immediately as I skimmed through the Directory. First was the wealth of material about Australian Cinema before the 1970s – about which I knew very little. Compared to this was the relatively less substantial coverage of the ‘New Australian Cinema’ of the 1970s – the period when Australian films seemed to appear quite suddenly in the global marketplace (or was it just the UK?). The introduction to the guide is very good in explaining why debates about Australian Cinema developed in the way that they did (with a concentration on how national identity was represented and a disavowal of genre) and overall I found this to be a coherent presentation of Australian Cinema with interesting debates about industry and culture. Nevertheless, the Directory is still to some extent constrained by its structure. Australian Cinema is slightly confusing for the newcomer. Some of the debates are familiar for scholars of British Cinema – a history of popular audiences preferring Hollywood to local production for instance. Yet there is also a history of public funding and a variety of local production that compares very well with countries of a similar size and wealth. This means that the Directory can’t offer a full account of Australian Cinema past and present. Editorial decisions about what to include and why become very important.

For example the 1946 film The Overlanders acts as a useful study text (easily available on DVD) in relation to several debates. Made by the distinguished British documentarist Harry Watt for Ealing it represents inward investment from the UK (as distinct from the Hollywood funding of Baz Luhrmann’s Australia which borrowed some of its ideas) and raises questions about how British creatives constructed representations of Australian national identity. The film originated as part of an Anglo-Australian propaganda exercise with a ‘typical Australian’ refusing to kill cattle in Northern Australia as part of a scorched earth policy developed because of fear of a Japanese invasion. Instead the cattle are driven for hundreds of miles to Queensland. In the Directory, the film is discussed in the ‘Road Movie’ section, but it could have appeared in the War Film section or the ‘Period’ section. Alternatively, Watts’ work in Australia could have been considered alongside Michael Powell or the other Ealing Films made in Australia during the 1940s and 1950s. My point here is not that I disagree with where the film appears – simply that in a Directory in which readers might select to read one section rather than another, making the links is not so straightforward (though it could be in a fully ‘online project).

I find it difficult to comment on the New Zealand section having seen so few of the films. Some of the debates are similar, but overall the relatively limited resources/local box office potential of New Zealand compared to Australia does create extra problems (not least the enormous disparity between Peter Jackson-produced international blockbusters and all other local production). I’m not sure whether New Zealand film academics/fans will be happy that the Directory gives them exposure or that they will resent being a kind of appendage to a primarily Australian Directory. I’m sure that someone could let me know!

My other main question is simply to query how many of the films discussed in the Directory are accessible from outside the two countries? It would be helpful if all the directories in this series included some information about how to acquire DVDs (Region 4 DVDs for Australia/New Zealand). Once again, YouTube rides to the rescue with some clips from films unavailable in the UK. Here’s a clip from one of my favourites from the 1970s (what I’ve now learned is the period of the ‘AFC film’, produced with public funding). This is Newsfront, directed by Philip Noyce in 1978 and exploring the world of the local Australian newsreel industry in the 1950s:

Although there is no entry on Newsfront as such in the Directory, there is an interesting essay by Bonnie Elliott which analyses the context of its production (in the ‘Period Film’ section).

Overall, I found this a very interesting collection and I’m pleased to have been introduced to a range of films with which I’m unfamiliar as well as more familiar titles that I can now see in a new light. If you want a free copy download it now from Intellect Books (free offer ends soon!).

Mani Ratnam and three Raavans

Mani Ratnam with his star Aishwarya Rai, who plays Ragini in both versions of Raavan/Raavanan

Major Indian filmmaker Mani Ratnam looks set to achieve an increased global profile (not before time). He is scheduled to be honoured at the Venice Film Festival in September where both Hindi and Tamil versions of his new film based on characters from the Ramayana will be screened.

But will it do any good in the Western media? I fear perhaps not. The film exists in two versions made at the same time in Tamil (as Raavanan) and Hindi (Raavan) with a third dubbed version, titled Villain in Telugu (I think that this is a dub of the Tamil film). All three were launched domestically and internationally on June 18. In the UK the Hindi version went out on 52 prints but only 13 prints of the Tamil version were released. On the quietest weekend of the year in UK cinemas (during the opening stages of the World Cup) both versions were ahead of all other major titles in terms of screen averages – with the Tamil version attracting nearly twice as many punters per screen as the more widely distributed Hindi version. Both films made the Top 15. Reliance Entertainment released the Hindi version alongside the Tamil and the dubbed Telugu versions in North America where the company now owns 190 screens under the BIG Cinemas brand. The launch was on 40 screens in 20 cities. In India, the film is already being deemed a ‘super hit’ in the South but a ‘flop’ in the North.

Unfortunately, the two films are not being reviewed in the mainstream UK and US media to any great extent – and when they are, reviewers tends to be fairly clueless about what they are seeing. In the UK, the Guardian assigned the film to one of its assistant writers on film, Cath Clarke, and this is what she wrote (in its entirety):

“Bollywood golden couple Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan star in this absurdly extravagant melodrama, rife with cliches, song-and-dance showstoppers, macho action sequences and lush tourist board-approved landscapes. Bachchan plays low-caste tribal leader Beera, a Robin Hood figure who kidnaps the local police chief’s feisty wife (Rai) in retaliation for a crime crackdown. Maybe it’s the forest air, or a touch of Stockholm syndrome, but she takes a liking to her captor; heaven knows why since Bachchan hams it up like Toshirô Mifune at his most snarlingly crazy-eyed. Meanwhile, her husband (Vikram) gives chase, bearing down with the full weight of the law. Which is hardly surprising since flashbacks show what a cracking wife she is, fetching him his dinner while singing sweet songs and dancing alluringly.” (Guardian 18 June)

Clarke wants to attack what she sees as the film’s sexism, which is fair enough, but she seems unaware of the Ramayana connection or the basic conventions of Indian popular cinema. It’s an indication of the sub-editor’s lack of knowledge that the film is referred to as the Tamil version. (Abhishek Bachchan is not in the Tamil version – which sees Tamil star Vikram changing roles from police chief to abductor.) Just to pick up two other ways in which this review is wrong-headed. First, the motive for the abduction is not because of a ‘crime crackdown’ – as Clarke should have noticed in the second half of the film. Second, the (admittedly spectacular) forest scenes are not there because they are ‘tourist-board approved’, but because the Ramayana action is situated in the forest, the contemporary references need the forest (see below) – and of course, spectacular settings are part of the conventional generic mix in mainstream popular Indian Cinema. There are only a couple of choreographed dance sequences – most of the music score underpins narrative development.

But is the film any good you ask? I’m really not sure. I was never less than gripped throughout, but I want to see it again before making a final judgement. The easiest course is simply to pass you over to Srikanth on The Seventh Art website since his extended discussion is far better informed than I could manage (and there is a fascinating long discussion in the Comments section). Perhaps it is most useful if I fill in some background and focus on aspects of the global status of the film. I’ve only seen the Hindi version (around here Urdu is the major South Asian language) but I’ll hope to see the Tamil version on DVD.

Raavan is a recognisable Mani Ratnam film in two ways:

1. It teams him up with his usual collaborators – fellow Southerners, Santosh Sivan as cinematographer and A. R. Rahman as composer and with familiar stars: Bachchan and Rai. (The couple were in Ratnam’s previous film, Guru, 2007. Rai also appeared, in her first film role, in Ratnam’s 1997 Tamil feature, Iruvar.) Like all Ratnam’s films since the early 1990s, the production company was Madras Talkies, Ratnam’s own company.

2. It features a central relationship set against one of India’s major social/political issues – in this case the guerilla wars between the security services and Maoist groups in the forests of North/Central Eastern India.

It is different in the conscious attempt to replay one of India’s most famous stories – the Ramayana. An earlier Ratnam film Thalapathi (1991) did something similar with Mahabbaratha. That film too had a high profile because of the status of its Tamil superstar hero Rajnikanth, but I don’t think that Mani Ratnam made the references to the classical tale quite as prominent.

We know a lot more about what Mani Ratnam hoped to achieve with Raavan/Raavanan because the film has been so well promoted and marketed. The official website offers a press pack for both the Hindi and Tamil versions. Bachchan and Rai have promoted the film solidly through personal appearances, as has A. R. Rahman. The coverage has stimulated a great deal of interest – and, inevitably, some disappointment amongst fans and critics.

Ragini takes a fall, but is caught by a tree – a suitable metaphor for the performance of the film, 'falling' in Northern India but saved by the response in the south?

Global box office

I’m most interested in what the fate of the two film versions tells us about Indian Cinema and its profile in the global cinema market. When you begin to investigate the figures, some interesting conclusions can be drawn. Here is how I see it after the first weekend:

Global performance (both versions combined): $8.5 million from 2309 screens in 25 territories for a $3,708 screen average – placing it at No 8 in the chart but with a screen average at No 3. (Screendaily figures)

When we try to breakdown this figure, we can find some data on the major territories.

Box Office India reports a ‘disappointing’ overseas take of $391,000 in UAE and $143,00 in Australia. In North America the take was $480,000. However the North American figures do not distinguish between the language versions. The UAE and Australian figures similarly do not seem to include Tamil figures.

IBOS often seems to me to be a highly dubious source of box-office data. On several previous occasions I’ve seen statements about films being a flop or ‘disaster’ only for the film to go on to produce healthy results (e.g. My Name is Khan). The website seems more intent on ‘bringing down’ superstars rather than actually reporting data carefully. In this posting, IBOS offer a damning report on ‘box-office failure’:

“Reliance Big Pictures’s claiming a Rs. 53 crore combined weekend worldwide gross for Raavan with the Hindi Raavan collecting 38 crores in opening weekend, the Tamil version Raavanan collecting 11 crores and Telugu Villain only 4 crores. [A crore is 10 million.]”

There are two problems here. One is that there are no official collection figures for either Tamil or Telugu films published for public consumption. The other problem for IBOS is that although Reliance seem to have most of the distribution rights for the film, in the UK the distributor is Ayngaran International for the Tamil version – following a long collaboration with Madras Talkies. Ayngaran is now part of Eros, a major competitor for Reliance. Ayngaran has also held onto the rights for all other territories outside India (but presumably has done a deal in North America), so I wonder how accurate these ‘worldwide’ figures from IBOS are? If you want to see the Tamil version it is now playing on 15 sites in the UK and also in Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Singapore, Denmark, France, Holland and Germany as well as the US. All the cinemas showing the film are listed on Ayngaran’s website.

It would seem that the film has done reasonably well in Tamil Nadu where audiences generally have a more favourable response to films with classical references. Another report I’ve read suggests that because there was an unusual 5 day holiday in the state to coincide with a major ‘cultural conference’, the release was well-timed. Even so, we are left with what IBOS suggests is the clincher. The total production budget (funded by Reliance) was 100 crores, requiring a box office of 200 plus crores to break even. IBOS (rather gleefully it seems to me) suggests that the film won’t make this. Another news report suggests a wave of pirate copies and bit torrent downloads is undermining the release. Finally, the 4 crores box office for the Telugu version is heralded as evidence of a hit by Entertainment1 India. This is film in India today, but I think I’ll wait another couple of weeks before accepting all these figures. For the moment, I’d just urge anyone who gets the chance to watch any of the three versions of the film and make up their own minds.

Alan Plater 1935-2010

Alan Plater was a strong supporter of his trade union – the Writers' Guild which he chaired in the 1990s. Here he receives a 'Life time Achievement Award' in 2007. Photo © Simon Renton.

It’s sad to record the death of one of the most important writers in the UK over the past 50 years. Alan Plater wrote around 200 full length scripts and as many shorter ones. He wrote novels and plays for theatre and radio alongside his higher profile work for television and in the 1970s for British Cinema. Because his most acclaimed work was for television it is likely that he is known outside the UK only by a small coterie of fans in North America and Australasia. Perhaps that in itself exemplifies the problem for British moving image culture in that its best talents often reside in small screen drama.

The most useful short critique of Alan Plater’s astonishingly prolific writing career is probably Lez Cooke’s entry on the Screenonline website. His trademarks, across a wide variety of material in terms of narrative content, are witty and realistic dialogue rooted in observation, a solid underpinning of socialist politics, a love of jazz and healthy dollop of surrealism. Although he successfully adapted the work of writers such as Anthony Trollope and Olivia Manning, most of his best work was rooted in the working-class culture of the North of England. My personal favourite of all his projects was the Beiderbecke trilogy of comedy thrillers. The first of these, The Beiderbecke Affair appeared as a series (6 x 53 mins) in 1985. It was followed by two 90 minute television films under the title The Beiderbecke Tapes in 1987 and a final series of 4 x 53 mins broadcast as The Beiderbecke Connection in 1988. Starring James Bolam and Barbara Flynn as Leeds schoolteachers in a kind of Thin Man (William Powell and Myrna Loy) spoof, these wonderful programmes with their surreal humour and Bix Beiderbecke music offer the best critique of living through the dark and terrible days of Thatcherism that it is possible to imagine. The only thing that you can do is laugh at the idiocy of it all. As we slide into another Dark Age of real Tory twaddle (as distinct from the pretend Toryism of Blair and sadly Brown) it’s tempting to re-watch the series yet again. IMDB is instructive in how the series could be misunderstood in the US and it is indeed ‘very British’ – but for anyone outside the UK who wants an example of how Northern working-class culture could sustain itself through the darkness of the 1980s, look no further than the DVD boxed sets, and enjoy!

Alan Plater will be sorely missed. Here’s a YouTube clip from the BBC News coverage of his passing:

I Am Love (Io sono l’amore, Italy 2009)

Emma (Tilda Swinton) and Betta (Alba Rohrwacher) in I Am Love. Photo courtesy Magnolia Pictures

I went to see this with few preconceptions. All I knew was that it starred Tilda Swinton – who was playing a Russian in an Italian film. There were just three of us in a 300+ seat cinema at teatime during the World Cup.

What a stupendous melodrama! I’m so glad I made the effort. Following the equally wonderful Vincere, I’m very aware of how much I’ve missed the ‘excess’ of Italian Cinema. The print I saw seemed a little ‘soft’ – which may have been the projection – but I was bowled over by the cinematography, production design, the typography of the titles, the costumes and the music – by American opera composer John Adams. The performances were terrific and in all this was melodrama par excellence.

Plot outline (no spoilers)

Tilda Swinton is ‘Emma’ – a name she adopted when she married into the Italian haute bourgeoisie from her Russian background. She was ‘collected’, rather like a work of art, by the textile industrialist Tancredi Recchi. Now Emma is the matriarch of an Italian family with three grown-up children. When the head of the family business retires he leaves the company, jointly to his son, Tancredi and, more controversially to his grandson Eduardo. The significant ‘stranger’ who then moves ‘into’ the family is not so much Eva, Eduardo’s fiancée, but Antonio, a young chef who becomes first Eduardo’s friend and then his putative partner in a restaurant business. Antonio also meets Emma – with explosive results.

Commentary

There is a lot to say about writer/director Luca Guadagnino‘s film, but perhaps the most important observation is that this is the kind of film that really divides audiences. I think it’s very sad but so few commentators seem able to watch a film and judge it on its merits. So the divide here is the all too familiar one of mainstream v. art and drama v. melodrama. If you don’t like traditional melodrama – that is, ‘excess’ on screen and on the soundtrack to express emotions that can’t be ‘spoken’ – you’ll probably hate the film and find it silly. This is the reaction of many IMDB users (though to be fair, they are matched by a similar number of swooners). You will probably also find the sex scenes laughable – I was surprised by my reaction to them in that I found them intensely erotic.

The obvious reference point for many aspects of the film is the work of Luchino Visconti. The family of industrialists who work under fascism as easily as democracy and always to preserve the business is from The Damned. The lust which overcomes Emma is there in Ossessione and in a more genteel way in Senso. The aristo/haute bourgeois family who give lavish parties whilst trying to evolve under late capitalism is from The Leopard. I was trying to think of Milanese movies, but the only one that popped into my head was de Sica’s Garden of the Finzi-Continis and that isn’t really appropriate. More appropriate as a similar setting is the recent French film, A Christmas Tale. Others have mentioned Antonioni. The film is strong in terms of feel and atmosphere but weak perhaps in narrative development. I think that the reason some audiences lose patience is that the conventional story ideas are not developed. For instance, Eduardo projects a kind of nostalgia for a family firm that looks after its employees and strives for ethical policies. He seems to have brushed over some of the family’s previous business decisions and his father is ruthless and ‘modern’ – yet this distinction isn’t really developed. Similarly, his sister Betta also defies the assumptions about how she may behave – allying herself in some ways with Eduardo. Her other brother is a nondescript character in the background (passed over by his grandfather). The potentially interesting story here is pushed aside in favour of the amour fou between Emma and Antonio.

The two other aspects of the film which will no doubt puzzle mainstream audiences, but perhaps help create a cultish following for the film, are first, Emma’s fleeting memories of Russian streets and an almost Hitchcockian sense of a potential romantic thriller emerging at certain points. Vertigo has been mentioned by some critics. I certainly got a frisson of this when Emma, stopping in Sanremo on her way to Nice, notices a Russian Orthodox church – and then Antonio. (Sanremo was an important resort for the Russian aristocracy before 1917.) I was vaguely reminded of Vertigo and other Hitchcock films at this point. The second aspect which might puzzle audiences is the use of very sudden and almost brutal edits at various points and then the use of short sequences outside the linear narrative so that we cannot be sure who knows what and whether something will be discovered. So, if you want a conventional story in which puzzles can be solved with clues and a satisfactory conclusion reached, you won’t find it here. But if you want to swoon in sensual delight and perhaps experience what it feels like to be madly in love – disorientating as well as exhilarating – this could be the movie for you.

The Recchi family

Tilda Swinton is properly the centre of the film and she looks fabulous. It helps that she is tall and slender and can wear beautiful but simple clothes – but that she can also do devastated and bedraggled with equal conviction.

One final point – have your dinner date sorted out for after the screening as you may be hungry.

Major UK cinema chain goes completely digital

Cineworld, one of the three largest multiplex cinema chains in the UK and Ireland has announced a deal with Arts Alliance Media (AAM) to digitise all its remaining analogue only screens over the next three years. The deal was reported on Screendaily today and represents a major step in the digital switchover of UK cinema screens. The deal covers around 540 screens (250 of Cineworld’s screens are already digital) and the $44 million cost will be paid via a ‘virtual print fee’ or VPF for each new film screened digitally. Cineworld control around 20% of all screens in the UK and Ireland.

Studying Tsotsi

Studying Tsotsi, Judith Gunn, Auteur Publishing 2010, 120pp, ISBN: 978-1-906733-08-7

Tsotsi (South Africa/UK 2010) is one of the most popular films discussed on this website and it is widely studied in a UK context. Not surprisingly then, we were very interested in what this latest study guide from Auteur had to offer.

These study guides have now switched to a ‘pocket size’ – (162 x 117 mm), so in 120 pages there are perhaps 28,000 words in which to explore the film. I think that this is similar to the York Film Notes which tried a similar trick at the start of the decade.

The author’s blurb tells us that Judith Gunn is Senior Lecturer in Media Studies at Cirencester College and that she has worked in BBC radio as researcher, writer, producer and broadcaster. In Chapter 5 on Audience and Institution, Gunn reveals that she was a child in Africa and remembers going to the cinema in Tanzania to see a Hollywood/British film. She draws on both this experience and her BBC work in interesting ways and she refers to a number of interesting and useful books and articles that I will certainly investigate. For someone looking for material to help contextualise a reading of Tsotsi in relation to a set of media studies course objectives, there is certainly food for thought here. However, I’m less convinced that the guide will be helpful for film studies students and there are some real problems with the overall approach.

I couldn’t find anywhere in the book a statement about who the expected readership might be or what level of academic course is being addressed. Tsotsi is mentioned directly on the syllabus of the WJEC GCSE (i.e 14-17 year-olds in the main) in Film Studies, but this is a new course with relatively small (but growing) numbers of students. I would expect Auteur to be targeting the far larger group of A Level teachers and students on both media and film studies courses. The problem is that without a clear focus Gunn struggles to find a consistent level in terms of pitching to readers both theoretical ideas and cultural references. There is a range of theoretical references which on the one hand are inappropriate for GCSE students and on the other are sometimes presented in a potentially patronising way for A Level students – and sometimes the attempt to introduce ideas quickly makes them confusing. Getting the pitch right is very difficult and I suspect that here it is the guide’s structure that is problematic.

There are six chapters in all – History and Context, Narrative, The Image of Tsotsi, Representation: Stereotypes, Audiences and Institutions and finally ‘Themes’. The problematic chapters are those offering textual analysis and discussion of the film in the context of South African Cinema more generally. An early indication that things are not quite right is the assumption that this is a ‘Hollywood film’ in some way. There is some useful discussion in the guide of possible Hollywood elements in the film and Gavin Hood did indeed train in the US and has gone on to make Hollywood films, but Tsotsi is a UK/South Africa co-production which Miramax picked up after production. The prime mover behind the production was UK producer Peter Fudakowski.

More confusing still is the discussion of the ‘look’ of the film. I couldn’t find anything to warn readers that the UK DVD from Momentum actually uses the wrong aspect ratio, presenting the film in 16:9 or 1:1.78 instead of the ‘Scope ratio 1:2.35 used for the cinema version. All those students in the UK have probably studied the film unable to see the careful compositions. (As far as I can see the Miramax Region 1 disc has the correct ratio). Judith Gunn’s overall strategy involves comparing the shooting and editing style for Tsotsi with television soap opera and also with a series like The Wire, which seems odd to me. This just one example of an approach which might work for media studies but which more or less ignores the specific formal questions of film studies. Gavin Hood and his cinematographer Lance Gewer made some quite careful decisions about the look of the film – none of which are directly related to television aesthetics. The best resource on this is an article in American Cinematographer which is still online and well worth reading. As Gewer states:

“Gavin’s intention was to make an intensely emotional and engaging psychological thriller set in a world of contrasts — love and hate, wealth and poverty, revenge and forgiveness, anger and compassion — and widescreen was the only way we could visually tell that story. We needed to get a sense of the characters in the space and the broadness of that space; it’s a world vulnerable people inhabit.”

Here is why, ideally, students need to see the CinemaScope print. The rest of the article explains very well why decisions were made. Unfortunately, I think some of Judith Gunn’s commentary on this area is not particularly helpful. I’m also puzzled why, after referencing authoritative sources on South African Cinema in terms of 1930s-60s films she then decides to discuss more recent South African films only in terms of the Hollywood and UK productions based there, rather than investigate some of the more recent independents. It isn’t easy to access these films, I know, but students should be aware of the structure of South African Cinema – which is still largely segregated in terms of catering for largely white middle-class audiences in multiplexes and for much poorer Black audiences in what I assume are less salubrious halls in the townships (assuming that they still exist and haven’t closed with the spread of DVDs). Tsotsi is unique in coming out of a sector of the South African industry still mainly white but at least with a grasp of working-class South African culture.

In short, this guide will give media students access to some useful material, but film students will need to supplement it with some of the books mentioned in its Bibliography.

itpworld’s blog entry on Tsotsi is here.

. . . and another entry on itpworld including a report on a new venture in South Africa, ‘Sollywood’

There is also an article on the recent Durban International Film Festival by Maggie Miranda in the latest Media Magazine in which she discusses new South African films.