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Magic Light and Triggerfish Delight with Roald Dahl's 'Revolting Rhymes'


Having grown up listening to, reading and even performing bits from Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes with my cousins over Christmas as a child... I was eager to see what Magic Light and Triggerfish Studios had done with the animated version. Attending the African premiere at the Design Indaba at Artscape in Cape Town this year, it was an absolute pleasure to see the transition.

Roald Dahl would have been 100 years old by now and would've relished the chance to see this adaptation of his much-loved works, which combines the classic fairy tales of Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, The Three Little Pigs, Jack and the Beanstalk and Cinderella. The film-makers have taken William Blake's cover image of the wolf reading to children and turned it into the storytelling device by which the Revolting Rhymes unfold. While it doesn't feature the Goldilocks tale, Blake's sketches have been lovingly translated into beautifully textured 3D form by Triggerfish, retaining much of Blake's original character design and quirk.

The two half hour TV parts are meticulous and have been directed by Jakob Schuh and Jan Lachauer, both former Annecy winners and Oscar nominees. Lacing Dahl's witty rhymes and maintaining a sinister tension keeps one entertained, while they've made it TV friendly enough for the whole family to enjoy. The Magic Light and Triggerfish collaboration seems to be going from strength-to-strength after working on the award-winning Stick Man and will be teaming up yet again for work on The Highway Rat.

 
Spling's Galileo Pick of the Week: The Dark Knight


Spling's Pick of the Week - The Dark Knight @ Central Park

THE DARK KNIGHT @ CENTRAL PARK (10 Mar)

Christopher Nolan is a perfectionist, a conductor who insists that every instrument at his disposal is finely calibrated and double-checked. This means his films are always beautiful and reinforced by strong writing, powerful music and breathtaking visuals. His clinical precision could be accused of siphoning the warmth, imperfection and joy out of film, but he does tend to work on the colder, darker more serious side of the spectrum as evidenced by The Dark Knight. A legendary superhero match up between Batman and the Joker is given the same epic treatment as Heat, which saw Hollywood legends Al Pacino and Robert De Niro go head-to-head. The Dark Knight represents the pinnacle of superhero films, leaving Tim Burton's original Batman in the dust, a pantomime by contrast. Beautifully shot, pulsating in its dark majesty and enigmatic by virtue of Heath Ledger's maniacal performance , this is a good example of a sequel that managed to top an already excellent Part 1.

This groundbreaking superhero crime saga is showing under the stars at The Galileo Open Air Cinema.

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Talking Movies with Spling - Logan, Keeping up with the Kandasamys and The True Cost


Spling reviews Logan, Keeping up with the Kandasamys and The True Cost as broadcast on Talking Movies, Fine Music Radio. Catch Talking Movies on Fridays at 8:20am and Saturdays at 8:15am every week on Fine Music Radio.

 
Movie Review: Moonlight


Moonlight is a coming-of-age drama that chronicles the life of a young black man from childhood to adulthood as he tries to cope against the flow of everyday adversities while growing up in a rough Miami neighbourhood. The film deals with a range of negative social themes such as: drugs, bullying and gangsterism. Ordinarily, these hard living themes would translate into a gritty and difficult-to-watch film, but this is the magic of Moonlight, turning the ugliness of real-life into a thing of luminescent beauty.

Director Barry Jenkins has composed an elegant drama that treats all of its subjects with great dignity and respect in spite of their transgressions. This is a very human experience, viewed from a nonjudgemental perspective and powered home by an ensemble of equally sincere performances. Mahershala Ali's towering performance is tough yet heartfelt, and he manages to captain a strong ensemble of performances, despite his limited screen time. The lead role is played by three fine actors, namely Alex R. Hibbert as Little, Ashton Sanders as Chiron and Trevante Rhodes as Black. All the while, the mercurial Naomie Harris tries to keep them in check as troubled mother, Paula.

Richard Linklater delivered a similar coming-of-age film about a white lower middle-class Texan boy approaching adulthood with docudrama realism. While Moonlight doesn't enjoy the continuity of having a single actor as its lead like Boyhood, the casting is convincing and the chapters are equally realistic. There is a poetry and sombre depth to this filmmaking, which transcends other dramas with its natural ebb and flow, maintaining a curious tension as we revisit a character whose neighbourhood, family and social constraints have shaped him. While the realm is harsh, the heart is tender, turning this drama into a deeply moving, subtle and beautiful piece of cinema.

Moonlight Film 2016

"You want to be like Jimi? You got to kiss the sky!"

Jenkins could have used this platform to launch a scathing attack on race and sexual politics in America. However, he's taken a much more gentle approach in relaying his message, using a lens of acceptance to help shape attitudes. By presenting a vicarious and disarming experience of what it must be like to grow up poor, black and gay, we are forced to either empathise or reflect on our own prejudices. This makes Moonlight powerful in the way it can touch your soul and haunting as its pure elegance sinks into your bones.

As a low-budget drama, this film speaks volumes and is a testament to great writing, fine casting and visionary direction. Its multitude of Best Picture awards are important in demonstrating that art can trump budget and it serves as a huge inspiration for budding filmmakers around the world. One can only hope that the widespread attention it has received as a result of the award season will convert into people taking the time to see it.

The bottom line: Luminous


 
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