We sent a few local creatives off to the movies to view films that made up the brilliant Design Indaba FilmFest line-up which ran from 21 Feb until 2 March. In return, they let us know what they thought. Here are 5 must-see films to add to your ‘to watch’ list as introduced by Andrew Pullen, Rashiq Fataar, Mia Chaplin, Luca Vincenzo and Helen J Raine.
This year’s Design Indaba Film Festival kicked off to a nostalgic start by showing the first few screenings at a specially made drive-in, set below Bungalow on the Maiden’s Cove sport fields. Sure, essentially it is a screen outdoors, but like the re-birth of vinyl, the attraction is the implied nostalgia. The kicker at a ‘modern’ drive-in though, is that you tune into the audio track via FM frequency, and that’s pretty nifty. It was the perfect night on the fields, and it was capped off by arguably one of the best music documentaries of our time, Sound City – Reel to Reel.
Sound City is one of the few unique movies which can, and does, appeal to multiple generations all at once, and that’s thanks to the music and the personalities behind it. If you had to tell me a year ago, that Dave Grohl, Pat Smear and Taylor Hawkins would be making a track with Paul McCartney and Krist Novaselic of Nirvana, I’d call you liar. And the movie isn’t just about making new music, but explores most of the songs and albums that define the last 40 years of music in general including artists like Fleetwood Mac, Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers and Johnny Cash, to name but a few. The Sound City Studio is the Graceland of modern rock ‘n roll.
The sheer variety of the different artists and the depth with which they go into talking about the craft they love so much, is setup to allow a fan of The Beatles to connect with a fan of Foo Fighters. And this is for me where the magic and beauty in this movie lies.
The movie still delves deeper using the ingenuity of Trent Reznor’s foray into electronics and groundbreaking use of tech, and contrasts it to the ease with which anyone can make music now days, whilst still giving us a glimpse into the very birth of pro-tools and electronic made music, and the undeniable quality of analog, through Tape and the Neve Console.
Essentially though, this movie is for music lovers, and no matter which discipline of music you enjoy or work in, it’s the binding nature of the artists of the music industry that allow us, “the listeners”, to enjoy the fruits of their audible art. Check out the Sound City OST on iTunes or Deezer and give it a hard listen.
Andrew Pullen is a Digital Creative/Motion Designer/Technologist at OgilvyOne Cape Town.
The Human Scale reaches out to people through narratives from Dhaka to Christchurch and New York to Copenhagen, with a simple, yet powerful idea: what if our cities were designed for people? The movie traces the work of Jan Gehl and Gehl architects, some of the leading minds and professionals, who have worked tirelessly to stop the cycle of humans as afterthoughts in our city life.
From the pop-up public spaces in New York, to the recovery of Christchurch after a devastating earthquake, each story defies the trend over decades, which was and is, to design cities which strangle life, support car usage and cling onto an idea of modernism that does little to make our cities safer or more liveable.
The Human Scale is not the end of a story, but a departure point for South African cities, after two decades of democracy, to think, and design differently; for humans.
Rashiq Fataar is the founder of Future Cities, an independent non-profit organisation committed to building a democracy around the future of cities. Future Cities began as Future Cape Town, a platform for stimulating debate and inspiring a more liveable city.
Cutie and the Boxer is a documentary about two elderly artists from Tokyo living in New York. Ushio and Noriko Shinohara have been married for forty years and have continued to produce work together. The film examines the complex duality of their domestic and creative existence and ambitions. At times bleak, Cutie and the Boxer is sensitively and intimately filmed and gives an earnest account of the unconventional life that this couple have shared.
Finding Fela is a fascinating and enthralling insight into the life of a man whose influence filters through to this day. Crafted from over 1,200 hours of archive footage, the film by Alex Gibney weaves the tale of a man on a virtuoso pathway discovering music, women and mysticism, his flaws and his graces, as well as his attack on social and political injustice, all the while attempting to find the balance between fabled legacy and real accounts. Ultimately, as with many before him, the man used his art as a weapon, and no documentary or throwback will ever be able to pin down a character of that magnitude.
I was super disappointed with Wes’ last offering ‘Moonrise Kingdom’, but I absolutely loved this film. It’s a fantastical and elaborate story set in the shadow of the advancing Nazi regime. The frivolity of the tale is weighted poignantly with the political atmosphere of the impending war and the simple and quiet way in which Mr. Moustafa recounts his story. Wickedly funny and beautifully crafted, with performances by Ralph Fiennes and Tilda Swinton that were perfection.
Helen J Raine is a director and co-founder of Motion City Films.
Until next year!