Cross your fingers and keep them that way for as long as possible. Our country has chosen the movie that will hopefully make it onto the Oscars nominations list….
The film is called Four Corners. It’s a coming-of-age crime thriller set on the Cape Flats – a true story of a young chess prodigy who must defy the odds and stay one move ahead of the gangs in a game where losing can be the difference between life or death.
Directed by theatre and movie veteran Ian Gabriel, Four Corners is yet to be released into mainstream SA cinema. We’ll only be able to watch it in late November and the fact that there is already significant Oscar buzz surrounding the film indicates just how profound and powerful it is!
Four Corners is now a contender for the Foreign Language Oscar category. It features four languages and in fact is the first 'foreign language' entry to blend Sabela (the coded prison language of the Number gangs) Tsotsi-taal, Cape Afrikaans and English.
Speaking to Anisa Ussuph, director Ian Gabriel said: “I’ve worked for a long time in the South African film industry and in theatre here. And I always encouraged people to talk whatever their language is which we do instinctively in South Africa anyway. We subtitled the stuff that needed to be subtitled.”
Ian Gabriel directs Turner Adams in a secret prison ritual of the Number gang
Four Corners stars Brendon Daniels, Lindiwe Matshikiza and Irshaad Ally all of whom deliver electrifying performances, as does newcomer Jezriel Skei who plays 13-year old Ricardo.
The Oscar selection panel singled out the outstanding and extremely believable performances of the cast. And Gabriel says they do deserve every bit of recognition: “We went to schools and chess academies and acting classes and that’s where we selected the young actors, none of whom had acted on film before. A lot of the large cast was drawn from real life on the Cape Flats including prisoners, reformed gang members and so on who could bring their real experiences to the fore.”
Gabriel says if Four Corners makes the Academy Award cut and goes on to win the Best Foreign Film Oscar, he would thank the cast first in his acceptance speech. And then the community of the Cape Flats who welcomed them wholly in order to have their story told.
- Anisa Ussuph
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