African Perspectives: Namibian Premiere of "Skoonheid" by Oliver Hermanus, Sat, 25 February 2012, 19h00

As part of the monthly film series “African Perspectives”, AfricAvenir Windhoek, in cooperation with Studio 77, presents the Namibian premiere of "Skoonheid", a film by Oliver Hermanus, 2010, South Africa, 99 min, Afrikaans with English subtitles. “Skoonheid” is the story of a man who is the product of apartheid and feels excluded from the new South Africa. A panel discussion with invited speakers will take place after the screening.

Date: Sat. 25. February 2012, Time: 19h00
Venue: Studio 77, Old Breweries Complex, entrance Garten Str.
Entrance: 30,-N$
Notice: Entry 
restricted to 18 years & over. Please bring your ID!

About the film
“Skoonheid” is the story of a man who is the product of apartheid and feels excluded from the new South Africa. Raised within the confines of conservatism, Francois van Heerden, the protagonist in Oliver Hermanus’ latest film, carefully constructs his life to achieve societal approval, but experiences a sterile existence that fills him with profound regret and the conviction that his is a wasted life.

The film exposes the private shames and secret obsessions of a conservative, white, Afrikaans man. The film is a study in regret, lust and self-destruction, this film is a distinctive lens on the subject of beauty.

Francois van Heerden lives a quite a neat life. He is a family man in his mid-forties who lives in Bloemfontein and is well established. Van Heerden has all the trappings of a peerless Calvinist existence, but beneath the veneer of this seemingly faultless Afrikaner lives a seething nest of internal conflict.

When Van Heerden meets an Adonis who is the son of an old friend, the chance encounter undermines the foundations of his tidy life, but tentatively opens the door to the possibility of happiness.

The narrative says much about society’s obsession with beauty, but this is eloquently expressed through one man’s struggle blindsided by lust. In “Skoonheid”, Francois van Heerden’s neat life unravels because of his own obsession with youth and beauty.

“Skoonheid” recently made history by being the first Afrikaans film to be shown at the Cannes Film Festival. The fifth local director to show at Cannes, Hermanus’ movie was screened in the “Un Certain Regard” section of Cannes’ official selections, which runs alongside the Palme d'Or. It subsequently won the won the Queer Palm Award during the festival.

Oliver Hermanus’ acclaimed film has been announced as South Africa’s official entry into the Oscars category for Best Foreign Film. The announcement was made in September 2011 by the South African Academy Selection Committee under the patronage of the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF).
"The international success of the film demonstrates that although not an English language film, it is a film that resonates and appeals to the larger global market," says Azania Muendane, Head of Marketing and Public Affairs.

Peter Goldsmid, South African Academy Selection Committee spokesperson said the film stood out as a representation of good South African filmmaking meeting all the criteria.
“Our decision was unanimous. Skoonheid was by far the best film; it held the audience, it had a protagonist with real internal conflict, it had a strong structure, and it is a compelling, assured piece of work by a confident director with a distinctive vision and point of view. What also stood out were excellent performances and the assured realisation of the world of the story. It clearly met the criteria.”

Awards
-    Queer Palm Award, Cannes Film Festival 2011
-    Best South African Feature, Durban International Film Festival 2011
-    Special Mention Award, Durban International Film Festival 2011
-    Best Actor, Deon Lotz, Zürich International Film Festival 2011
-    South Africa’s official entry for Best Foreign Film at the Academy Awards, Los Angeles, February 2012

AfricAvenir thanks its financial sponsors and kind supporters of this event: The German Federal Foreign Office, the Finnish Embassy in Namibia, Studio 77, Bank Windhoek Arts Festival, the Franco Namibian Cultural Centre, WhatsOnWindhoek, Wolfram Hartmann, Edwin Bassingthwaighte, and other individuals.

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