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Homegrown heroes shoot from the hip as SA Western starts its run

‘Five Fingers for Marseilles’, a South African produced Western which has received rave reviews at a few international film festivals, tells the story of five young men who stand up against brutal police oppression in the Eastern Cape town of Marseilles
‘Five Fingers for Marseilles’, a South African produced Western which has received rave reviews at a few international film festivals, tells the story of five young men who stand up against brutal police oppression in the Eastern Cape town of Marseilles

Five Fingers for Marseilles, billed as South Africa’s first Western, opened at cinemas yesterday and has already played at global festival circuit to rave reviews.

The film is about a group of young men – the “Five Fingers” in the title – who stand up to brutal police oppression in Marseilles, a town in the rugged badlands of the Eastern Cape.

It tells the story of Tau, who kills two policemen and is sentenced to 20 years in prison. When he gets out the embittered “Lion of Marseilles” discovers his comrades are now in prominent positions in the town.

But there’s also a vicious new threat afoot, so Tau must reform the Five Fingers and take on old allies and new enemies. The film made its world premiere at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival and went on to screen at Fantastic Fest, BFI London Film Festival and the Palm Springs International Film Festival. After it screened at Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas, in late September, a festival review spoke about the film as “a gorgeous, complex world”, calling Five Fingers for Marseilles one of the most striking debuts of recent years, and named it part of “a wave that will completely redefine the international perception of what African cinema can be”.

Five Fingers for Marseilles is the feature directorial debut of Michael Matthews and feature screenwriting debut of Sean Drummond.
It is produced by Asger Hussain and Yaron Schwartzman of Game 7 Films and Sean Drummond/Michael Matthews of Be Phat Motel Film Company.

Dylan Voogt of Stage 5 Films is co-producer, and Paulo Areal and Dumi Gumbi are executive producers.

“I’ve long loved the idea of bringing the western into a South African space, but not in a way that risked ‘gimmick’ or stuck to the routine or the expected,” Drummond said.

“I found a story I was burning to tell, a chance to explore a seldom seen part of the country, to capture a vivid way of life, explore little known histories and a chance to write complex, compelling characters, with depth and weight, for the best actors in the country, and a film that would create heroes, anti-heroes and villains that might even become iconic.”

The cast includes veteran stars from Jerry Mofokeng, Kenneth Nkosi, Hamilton Dhlamini and Mduduzi Mabaso to relative newcomers Lizwi Vilakazi and Warren Masemola. Vuyo Dabula, star of television’s Generations, steps into a career-defining lead role opposite Zethu Dlomo, fresh from her starring role in US drama series Black Sails.

Dean Fourie, Kenneth Fok, Brendon Daniels, Anthony Oseyemi, Garth Breytenbach, Tseko Monaheng, and Mosili Makuta round out the supporting cast. The Eastern Cape’s Lady Grey Arts Academy also provided some of the cast for the film.

Written in English, the film was always intended to play in a local language. Basotho screenwriter Mamokuena Makhema was the translator and cultural advisor, consulting on language, culture and nuance, and ensuring the dialogue in Sesotho, captured the poetry and depth of the original script.

  • Five Fingers for Marseilles is showing at Baywest and the Boardwalk.
‘Five Fingers for Marseilles’, a South African produced Western which has received rave reviews at a few international film festivals, tells the story of five young men who stand up against brutal police oppression in the Eastern Cape town of Marseilles
‘Five Fingers for Marseilles’, a South African produced Western which has received rave reviews at a few international film festivals, tells the story of five young men who stand up against brutal police oppression in the Eastern Cape town of Marseilles

Five Fingers for Marseilles, billed as South Africa’s first Western, opened at cinemas yesterday and has already played at global festival circuit to rave reviews.

The film is about a group of young men – the “Five Fingers” in the title – who stand up to brutal police oppression in Marseilles, a town in the rugged badlands of the Eastern Cape.

It tells the story of Tau, who kills two policemen and is sentenced to 20 years in prison. When he gets out the embittered “Lion of Marseilles” discovers his comrades are now in prominent positions in the town.

But there’s also a vicious new threat afoot, so Tau must reform the Five Fingers and take on old allies and new enemies. The film made its world premiere at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival and went on to screen at Fantastic Fest, BFI London Film Festival and the Palm Springs International Film Festival. After it screened at Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas, in late September, a festival review spoke about the film as “a gorgeous, complex world”, calling Five Fingers for Marseilles one of the most striking debuts of recent years, and named it part of “a wave that will completely redefine the international perception of what African cinema can be”.

Five Fingers for Marseilles is the feature directorial debut of Michael Matthews and feature screenwriting debut of Sean Drummond.
It is produced by Asger Hussain and Yaron Schwartzman of Game 7 Films and Sean Drummond/Michael Matthews of Be Phat Motel Film Company.

Dylan Voogt of Stage 5 Films is co-producer, and Paulo Areal and Dumi Gumbi are executive producers.

“I’ve long loved the idea of bringing the western into a South African space, but not in a way that risked ‘gimmick’ or stuck to the routine or the expected,” Drummond said.

“I found a story I was burning to tell, a chance to explore a seldom seen part of the country, to capture a vivid way of life, explore little known histories and a chance to write complex, compelling characters, with depth and weight, for the best actors in the country, and a film that would create heroes, anti-heroes and villains that might even become iconic.”

The cast includes veteran stars from Jerry Mofokeng, Kenneth Nkosi, Hamilton Dhlamini and Mduduzi Mabaso to relative newcomers Lizwi Vilakazi and Warren Masemola. Vuyo Dabula, star of television’s Generations, steps into a career-defining lead role opposite Zethu Dlomo, fresh from her starring role in US drama series Black Sails.

Dean Fourie, Kenneth Fok, Brendon Daniels, Anthony Oseyemi, Garth Breytenbach, Tseko Monaheng, and Mosili Makuta round out the supporting cast. The Eastern Cape’s Lady Grey Arts Academy also provided some of the cast for the film.

Written in English, the film was always intended to play in a local language. Basotho screenwriter Mamokuena Makhema was the translator and cultural advisor, consulting on language, culture and nuance, and ensuring the dialogue in Sesotho, captured the poetry and depth of the original script.

  • Five Fingers for Marseilles is showing at Baywest and the Boardwalk.

Five Fingers for Marseilles, billed as South Africa’s first Western, opened at cinemas yesterday and has already played at global festival circuit to rave reviews.

The film is about a group of young men – the “Five Fingers” in the title – who stand up to brutal police oppression in Marseilles, a town in the rugged badlands of the Eastern Cape.

It tells the story of Tau, who kills two policemen and is sentenced to 20 years in prison. When he gets out the embittered “Lion of Marseilles” discovers his comrades are now in prominent positions in the town.

But there’s also a vicious new threat afoot, so Tau must reform the Five Fingers and take on old allies and new enemies. The film made its world premiere at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival and went on to screen at Fantastic Fest, BFI London Film Festival and the Palm Springs International Film Festival. After it screened at Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas, in late September, a festival review spoke about the film as “a gorgeous, complex world”, calling Five Fingers for Marseilles one of the most striking debuts of recent years, and named it part of “a wave that will completely redefine the international perception of what African cinema can be”.

Five Fingers for Marseilles is the feature directorial debut of Michael Matthews and feature screenwriting debut of Sean Drummond.
It is produced by Asger Hussain and Yaron Schwartzman of Game 7 Films and Sean Drummond/Michael Matthews of Be Phat Motel Film Company.

Dylan Voogt of Stage 5 Films is co-producer, and Paulo Areal and Dumi Gumbi are executive producers.

“I’ve long loved the idea of bringing the western into a South African space, but not in a way that risked ‘gimmick’ or stuck to the routine or the expected,” Drummond said.

“I found a story I was burning to tell, a chance to explore a seldom seen part of the country, to capture a vivid way of life, explore little known histories and a chance to write complex, compelling characters, with depth and weight, for the best actors in the country, and a film that would create heroes, anti-heroes and villains that might even become iconic.”

The cast includes veteran stars from Jerry Mofokeng, Kenneth Nkosi, Hamilton Dhlamini and Mduduzi Mabaso to relative newcomers Lizwi Vilakazi and Warren Masemola. Vuyo Dabula, star of television’s Generations, steps into a career-defining lead role opposite Zethu Dlomo, fresh from her starring role in US drama series Black Sails.

Dean Fourie, Kenneth Fok, Brendon Daniels, Anthony Oseyemi, Garth Breytenbach, Tseko Monaheng, and Mosili Makuta round out the supporting cast. The Eastern Cape’s Lady Grey Arts Academy also provided some of the cast for the film.

Written in English, the film was always intended to play in a local language. Basotho screenwriter Mamokuena Makhema was the translator and cultural advisor, consulting on language, culture and nuance, and ensuring the dialogue in Sesotho, captured the poetry and depth of the original script.

  • Five Fingers for Marseilles is showing at Baywest and the Boardwalk.

Five Fingers for Marseilles, billed as South Africa’s first Western, opened at cinemas yesterday and has already played at global festival circuit to rave reviews.

The film is about a group of young men – the “Five Fingers” in the title – who stand up to brutal police oppression in Marseilles, a town in the rugged badlands of the Eastern Cape.

It tells the story of Tau, who kills two policemen and is sentenced to 20 years in prison. When he gets out the embittered “Lion of Marseilles” discovers his comrades are now in prominent positions in the town.

But there’s also a vicious new threat afoot, so Tau must reform the Five Fingers and take on old allies and new enemies. The film made its world premiere at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival and went on to screen at Fantastic Fest, BFI London Film Festival and the Palm Springs International Film Festival. After it screened at Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas, in late September, a festival review spoke about the film as “a gorgeous, complex world”, calling Five Fingers for Marseilles one of the most striking debuts of recent years, and named it part of “a wave that will completely redefine the international perception of what African cinema can be”.

Five Fingers for Marseilles is the feature directorial debut of Michael Matthews and feature screenwriting debut of Sean Drummond.
It is produced by Asger Hussain and Yaron Schwartzman of Game 7 Films and Sean Drummond/Michael Matthews of Be Phat Motel Film Company.

Dylan Voogt of Stage 5 Films is co-producer, and Paulo Areal and Dumi Gumbi are executive producers.

“I’ve long loved the idea of bringing the western into a South African space, but not in a way that risked ‘gimmick’ or stuck to the routine or the expected,” Drummond said.

“I found a story I was burning to tell, a chance to explore a seldom seen part of the country, to capture a vivid way of life, explore little known histories and a chance to write complex, compelling characters, with depth and weight, for the best actors in the country, and a film that would create heroes, anti-heroes and villains that might even become iconic.”

The cast includes veteran stars from Jerry Mofokeng, Kenneth Nkosi, Hamilton Dhlamini and Mduduzi Mabaso to relative newcomers Lizwi Vilakazi and Warren Masemola. Vuyo Dabula, star of television’s Generations, steps into a career-defining lead role opposite Zethu Dlomo, fresh from her starring role in US drama series Black Sails.

Dean Fourie, Kenneth Fok, Brendon Daniels, Anthony Oseyemi, Garth Breytenbach, Tseko Monaheng, and Mosili Makuta round out the supporting cast. The Eastern Cape’s Lady Grey Arts Academy also provided some of the cast for the film.

Written in English, the film was always intended to play in a local language. Basotho screenwriter Mamokuena Makhema was the translator and cultural advisor, consulting on language, culture and nuance, and ensuring the dialogue in Sesotho, captured the poetry and depth of the original script.

  • Five Fingers for Marseilles is showing at Baywest and the Boardwalk.
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