Director: Oliver Hermanus
Cinematography: Jamie Ramsay
Starring: Deon Lotz, Charlie Keegan, Michelle Scott
Runtime: 95 mins
Reney's Score: 90%
I needed to hug someone after watching Skoonheid. One, because I was happy to have just watched the best South-African film ever made, and two, to calm my nerves. Oliver Hermanus has made a rather brilliant, but exceedingly disturbing film.
In a nutshell
Closeted Francois’s perfect life as a husband, father, entrepreneur is about to unravel as he meets the young and gorgeous Christiaan.
Mood of the film
You live inside Francois’s emotionally suppressed mind for the entire film. It is a sombre place.
Six two-tone- and golf-shirt-wearing okes stand around a kitchen table drinking beer in the middle of the day. A seventh oke rocks up and is soon followed by a very feminine person of colour. The original six immediately get their rugby shorts in a twist. “Geen moffies. Geen kleurlinge,” is the explanation.
Deon Lotz, according to rumour, is receiving many international acting offers. He deserves every one of them. He plays a closeted family man living a double live and observing everyone and everything around him carefully. Yet he makes you care about him. He sets you up for what ultimately happens.
I cannot discuss the scene that impacted me the most. It is truly upsetting, but wonderfully portrayed by a monstrous, but pathetic, Deon Lotz and a vulnerable Charlie Keegan. You will recognise the scene.
One or two things were not explained clearly. Why Christian needed the money? What the envelope full of cash was for? Or did I miss the point?
What makes the film relevant today?
It deals with the possibly explosive consequences of suppressing who you really are – whether you are gay, straight or simply stuck in a job you hate. It could all make you go “postal”.
Skoonheid won the 2011 Queer Palmes award and was the first Afrikaans film selected to be shown at Cannes. It was also awarded the Best South African Feature Film as well as The Jury Special Mention Prize at the 2011 Durban International Film Festival.
- Ster-Kinekor sponsored my popcorn.