I usually try to avoid New Year’s resolutions. But during December, I had some of my last boxes moved to Stellenbosch. Between these, I discovered two massive boxes of DVDs that I had collected over the years. As a film major at varsity, I spent my weekends in DVD shops trying to find obscure films to add to my collection.
As the prevalence of streaming services increased, and I swapped my PC for a Mac without a CD-ROM reader, it became more and more difficult to actually watch these DVDs that I had spent years collecting and thus they ended up in boxes.
As I went through the boxes, which I’ve had alphabetised on my cloud since I started my collection, I decided to choose my favourite twelve and do a monthly article – a 9Lives movie club. I’ve chosen a collection of art films, foreign language films, blockbusters, South African films and more.
For a book or movie club to be successful, I think you need a few key elements and I will attempt my contributions as such. First off, you do need a bit of a synopsis of the film. I personally like to stick to the official synopsis of the film studio or IMDb and thereby fully avoid spoilers.
Thereafter, I’d like to go into why I like or do not like a film. Finally, I will place the film contextually within its genre, its time of release, and go find out what the most famous critics had to say about it.
I’d, of course, also love for you, the reader, to have a look at the film I talk about in the movie club. So, I’ll try to add links to popular streaming services where you’ll be able to view them yourself.
P.S. Images shot by Daniel Malherbe on a Full Frame Mirrorless Canon Eos R with 50mm lens. He played around with light and shadows and we tried to match the look to the movie – or at least as far as we could. And let’s be honest, they look amazing!
St Elmo’s Fire
The film, St Elmo’s Fire, opened in 1985 to mixed reviews. A coming-of-age film about a group of seven friends straight out of college hardly seems like something revolutionary in 2020, but way back in the 80s films like these paved the way for an entire genre of young adult films that followed.
A Royal Affair
Calling all period drama lovers! This film is based on the true story of an 18th-century love affair between Denmark’s young queen and her royal physician that changed the course of Denmark forever. The film stars one of my favourite actors, Mads Mikkelsen, alongside Alicia Vikander from Tomb Raider fame and Mikkel Boe Følsgaard as the mentally ill King Christian VII.
Before the Greek director, Yorgos Lanthimos directed The Favourite, The Killing of a Sacred Deer and The Lobster he made the absurdist Greek film, Dogtooth, in 2009. The film opened to rave reviews despite its bold, unusual film-making style, and treatment of sex and violence. Dogtooth is the third instalment of the 2020 9Lives Film Club.