The 2017 Cannes Film Festival began on May 17 and will run through May 28. The 70th installment of the renowned annual festival will include more than 50 film premieres. In a break with tradition, some television shows will also be premiered at Cannes this year. The Guardian describes the overall lineup this year as political, with “a repeated thematic emphasis on the refugee crisis.”
South Africa is represented this year with several films. According to Variety, South Africa has “become a global player while successfully branding itself as the gateway to the continent.” This will be highlighted at Cannes. Several of this year’s offerings from South Africa are “crowd-pleasers” that international audiences will appreciate.
South African Films
She is King – a film about a talented young singer/dancer/actor from Nongoma who leaves home in hopes of becoming famous; stars Khabonina Qubeka, Gugu Zulu, Aubrey Poo, Mbuso Kgarege, Mandisa Nduna and Zoe Mthiyane.
Asinamali – Mbongeni Ngema wrote, directed, produced, and starred in this prison musical.
My Zulu Wedding – a romantic comedy, starring South African actors Pallance Dladla, Lorcia Cooper, Kelly Khumalo, Treasure Tshabalala, Jerry Phele and Nondumiso Tembe, and American actors Darrin Dewitt Henson and Carl Payne.
The Number – directed by Khalo Matabane; about the gangs operating in the South African prison system.
The First Week – the story of a man who suddenly loses his hearing; already won the top prize at the Cape Town 48 Hour Film Project.
Sew the Winter to My Skin – directed by Jahmil X.T. Qubeka; a true story.
Other Films of Interest
I Am Not a Witch – directorial debut of British-Zambian director Rungano Nyoni, set in present-day Africa.
Farming – the story of director Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s childhood, when his Nigerian parents sent him to England; stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Damon Idris.
Arc of Justice – true story of a racial incident in Jazz Age Detroit; stars David Oyelowo as a pillar of the African American community who is put on trial for murder.
Will Smith is serving on this year’s jury and has said that he is judging with a “very distinctly African-American point of view.” The actor says that he’s having fun with the job.The glitz and glam of the red carpet is always a big part of the Cannes Film Festival. The opening gala saw stars in glamorous outfits, including Naomie Harris who wore a colorful gown by Gucci and some stunning jewelry. A hotly anticipated gala and charity event is amfAR’s Annual Cinema Against AIDS event which will take place on May 25.