Picks of the Week
Bittereinder: Hartseer Gangster
The latest single from Pretoria-based conceptual hip-hop trio Bittereinder is, apparently, a song about loneliness. “It’s a song about family, about the hustle, about wearing sunglasses in the bath, and about being ‘moergoed met business’. Everyone in the world can relate to this song because essentially, at the end of the long boring day, we’re all alone, hoping someone will notice and/or remember us for our various ‘skills’.” Existential crises aside, skills are something Bittereinder has no shortage of – particularly when they team up with their long-time collaborator and music video maestro Louis Minnaar. We all now how scarce funds can be for local music videos, but regardless of budget, Minnaar always makes his work look like a million bucks with his inimitable graphic polish.
Hartseer Gangster is the first offering of Bittereinder’s fourth album, Dand Tot Die Dood, set for release in October 2015.
Bob Loves Dylan x Jake Bennet: Radioactive Girl
Bob Loves Dylan is a collective comprised of film-making brothers Riordan and Rory Allen, and music blogger Tecla Ciolfi, who curates the selection of artists they collaborate with. BLD operates from a very simple premise: shooting single-take musical performances. In other words, they film an artist singing with one extended shot, as opposed to relying on a multitude of scenes, locations and camera angles edited together. On the surface of it this has the potential to be rather bland, but if you’ve seen any of their previous videos you’ll know this is most certainly no the case. Deft camera work and superb sound recording take these ‘takeaway’ productions to a new level. Despite its minimalist approach, this is some damn fine film-making.
Tecla’s selection of artists is definitely also a factor in the winning formula. I’ve found myself looking out eagerly for each new release, in part to discover new local talent.
This week they took a stroll through the Company’s Garden in Cape Town with Jake Bennett from the band Early Hours.
The Shoes: Drifted
If you’re anything like me, you’ll have twenty-seven tabs and a dozen separate windows open as you sit at your computer right now. Which might be why I gravitated towards this new release by the shoes. Sampling a range of video memes from Weeping James van der Beek to Dramatic Chipmunk, director Dent de Cuir basically just mashes up some of the most iconic gifs from the last few years to the beat of this catchy French-electro banger. Sure it’s a little juvenile and rough around the edges, but I think it’s right on the mark in terms of a growing trend in video collage. Moreover, it’s another example of film-makers creating videos without even picking up a camera. The Internet is brimming with countless images and videos, I think it’s rather resourceful to recycle like De Cuir has done.
You be the judge – but I dare you not to laugh.
Jenna Bass: Love The One You Love
“A sex-line operator, a dog handler and a lonely IT-technician begin to suspect that their romantic relationships are part of a bizarre conspiracy. If they want answers, they must confront the frightening truths about love, happiness and the New South Africa.”
I’ve been hearing amazing things about Jenna Bass’ ‘Love The One You Love’ ever since it debuted at last year’s Durban International Film Festival and proceeded to scoop the awards for Best Actress and Best South African Feature Film. Since then it’s been shown at a handful of festivals and private viewings, but as of today the film will be accessible to a far wider audience at the Labia Theatre in Cape Town and the Bioscope Independent Cinema in Jo’burg.
Personally I can’t wait to see it, and would encourage you to do the same on a big screen while you can. Jenna is definitely a beacon of inspiration for independent film-makers in South Africa, and we really look forward to following her career from this point.
FKY: Pura Vida
Did your parents ever make home movies of your family holidays? Perhaps you have a family of your own and enjoy recording your vacation highlights on your phone. Well, it’s time to up your game. In this short video of a family trip to Costa Rica, director FKY creates something that is part poetry, part documentary. The notion of what a home movie is has shifted dramatically in an era where cinema-quality recording capability sits in your front pocket. We live in an age where access to professional equipment is easily within reach, but few of us make the most of what it offers us. At least that’s what I felt after watching this beautiful short film, created with a mirrorless Sony A7S and some Canon lenses. Sure, we’re not all professional directors, but watching ‘Pura Vida’ has certainly inspired me to at least try something arty and evocative the next time I happen to be away. If you stop and think about it, travel offers us that increasingly rare opportunity of being outside of our comfort zone, and immersing in new experiences. There can be no better catalyst for creativity, or experimenting with new ways of telling a story. Besides, can you imagine how awesome it must be watching these videos with your grandkids in a few decades’ time?