Screening of the Oscar-nominated feature film “Beauty – Skoonheid” by Oliver Hermanus (South Africa) on Sunday 16 September 2012 at 17:00, Hackesche Höfe Kino

On Sunday 16 September 2012 at 17:00 AfricAvenir invites you to a screening of the multiple award-winning and Oscar-nominated feature film “Beauty – Skoonheid” by the celebrated South African director Oliver Hermanus at Hackesche Höfe Kino. The film portrays François, a white, Afrikaans-speaking South African family man whose repressed homosexuality unleashes itself with overwhelming force and passion when he encounters Christian – 20 years his junior – again after many years. The story is simultaneously a perceptive analysis of the current processes of transformation taking place in South African society. “Beauty is a powerful drama with the atmosphere of a brilliant psycho-thriller. Both savage and tender, all at once! A little gem: gripping, wonderfully cast and superbly written”.

After the film screening there will be a discussion with Sherlock Fortuin. Fortuin carries out research on “Queer Studies” in Bern and focuses in particular on the topics of “place” and “space” and their influence on the sexual behaviour of society in South African cities. 

The event is kindly supported by the Africa Initiative of the Federal Foreign Office and is organised in cooperation with PRO-FUN MEDIA Filmverleih.

In February 2012 AfricAvenir Windhoek launched the Namibian premiere of Skoonheid. On  14.06.2012 at 22:15 the celebrated debut film from Oliver Hermanus, “Shirley Adams”, was shown in the Werkstatt der Kulturen as part of the series “Afro Digital”. 

François van Heerden, a mid-40s, white, Afrikaans-speaking family man, has become devoid of any care or concern for his own measure of happiness, and so convinced of his ill-fated existence, that he is wholly unprepared when a chance encounter unravels his clean, controlled life. 23-year-old Christian is the son of a long lost friend. By all accounts he is the personification of a handsome young man in the prime of his life. François is so disarmed by the young man that it instantly ignites within him a flagrant infatuation and misplaced lust. Despite his carefully concealed disgust for himself, François pours out the lost emotions he has despised all his life in what becomes a desperate attempt at taking from the world that which he has always secretly wanted: Happiness.  n


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Awards / Festivalsn

  • 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, Zurich International Film Festival 2011
  • South Africa’s official entry for Best Foreign Film at the 84th Academy Awards, Los Angeles, February 2012

Charlie Keegan, Deon Lotz, Albert Maritz, Roeline Daneel, Sue Diepeveen, Michelle Scott

Oliver Hermanus (director), Didier Costet (screenplay); Ben Ludik (original score); Ian Arrow, Laurent Chassaigne, Xavier Bonneyrat (sound); George Hanmer (editing); Jamie Ramsay (film); Dylan Voogt (assistant producer); Didier Costet (producer), Label/Studio: PRO-FUN MEDIA

Press Reviews
“Beauty is a powerful drama with the atmosphere of a brilliant psycho-thriller. Both savage and tender, all at once! A little gem: gripping, wonderfully cast and superbly written”.

“The portrayal of post-apartheid South Africa through the eyes of a character, who now represents a minority group, speaks a language native to the region and with a past that is associated with racism and hatred is uncomfortably authentic. (…) Brutally and unapologetically honest, Beauty challenges it’s viewers to empathise with a character that has lost its way and become trapped in its own environment, fighting to oppress the truth, irrespective of the outcome”. Beige Magazine

“A ferociously powerful, yet subtle and complex performance from Deon Lotz is at the centre of this South African-set movie. (…) I have some misgivings about the ending of this film, which is of a recognisable arthouse type, but its power and intensity, and the way Hermanus controls the movie’s emotional weather, are impressive. Lotz gives the story a tragic dimension”. The Guardian

“François (impressively played by Deon Lotz), is a dull, long-married Boer running a timber business in Bloemfontein. Racially prejudiced and in denial over his sexuality, he starts stalking a handsome young lawyer in Cape Town. But before this he engages with equally suppressed friends in brutal homosexual orgies in the countryside. This is Death in Venice African-style, though lacking the reticence and resonance of Mann’s novella. Presumably it’s commenting on an emotionally distorted society that needs to get its house in order”. The Observern“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, Van Heerden 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 Daily Maverick (South Africa)

“Winner of the Queer Palm at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, South African director Oliver Hermanus‘ sophomore feature Beauty (Skoonheid, 2011) is a devastatingly powerful story of obsession and sexual denial, which in itself acts as a powerful allegory for his country’s continued transition from a nation of archaic beliefs and traditions to a more open and accepting culture”.

“(…) Then the script resumes its respectable, leisurely front, gently drifting to an enigmatic finish. The pace may be sluggish, but Skoonheid is a surprising, slow descent down one man’s spiral of obsession. Part Shame, part Lolita, it’s more beast than Beauty”.

“Lotz is superb – his stern, commonplace façade hides the seething frustration at the free, relaxed and friendly Christian. (…) The tense political fallout of the turbulent country is always bubbling under the surface, making for an intriguing psychological snapshot of a nation, but François‘ own story is frustratingly short. Beauty isn’t a film about sexuality, but of anger and negativity, perfectly controlled in Lotz’s hands”. DIY

The Director
Oliver Hermanus was born in Cape Town, South Africa, in 1983. He began his professional career as a press photographer, covering international events such as the Glastonbury Music Festival and the G8 Summit. He holds a BA in Film Media and Visual Studies from the University of Cape Town where, as a student, he directed a number of short films and documentaries. In 2006 acclaimed Hollywood film director Roland Emmerich (“Independence Day”) offered Hermanus a private scholarship to complete an MA in practical film-making at the London Film School. “Shirley Adams” was Hermanus’ first feature film, which he wrote at the age of 15 as his graduation film. “Shirley Adams” was shown at the Locarno International Film Festival and nominated for the Sutherland Award at the London Film Festival and the Ingmar Bergman Debut Award at the Goteborg Film Festival. Beauty (Skoonheid) is his second feature-length film.


  • 2005 The Second Floor (short film, documentary, 26 min.)
  • 2007 Interior (short film, 4 min.)    
  • 2007 Yumma (short film, 12 min.)
  • 2008 Shirley Adams (92 min.)
  • 2011 Beauty (Skoonheid) (99 min.)

nSpecial Guest: Sherlock Fortuin
Sherlock Fortuin is South-African born and studied Psychology and Intercultural Communication at Stellenbosch University. At Bern University he completed Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Philology and Anthropology. He is currently working on his dissertation project on the topic of culture and gender with a focus on “Queer Studies”. His research concentrates in particular on the topics of “place” and “space” and their influence on the sexual behaviour of society in South African cities. As a freelance columnist he regularly works for the magazine African Link in Switzerland. 

Fortuin is also involved in various culture and education projects. In 1993/1994 before the first democratic elections in South Africa he participated in workshops offering political education for citizens in rural parts of the Western Cape. During his studies in Stellenbosch he was also a member of the renowned Stellenbosch University Choir, and later a member of the Stellenbosch Libertas Chores with which he ventured on numerous international concert tours. For the third time he will be the driving force behind a music and development project  in South Africa in July 2012 between a cultural organisation from Boston and various cultural institutions from South Africa. In 2013, in co-operation with the South African Embassy in Switzerland, he will run a cultural week offering workshops on the topic of Gender Studies and “Queer Studies” alongside performances of music and literature.

At present he is working on his first poetry book with the title “Poemtography”, a symbiosis of poetry and photography. 

Beauty – Skoonheid
Feature film, Drama, South Africa, France, 2011, 105 Min.
Date: Sunday 16 September 2012 at 17:00
Location: Hackesche Höfe Kino, Rosenthaler Str. 40/41, 10178 Berlin

S Hackescher Markt, U Rosenthaler Platz
To reserve tickets: (030) 283 46 03
Admission: 7,50 €, Concessions with Berlinpass, Gildepass and Heavy User Card (Further information:


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