A very special weekend is fast approaching. A weekend filled with the glorious smell of smoke and the sizzling sounds of meat. While throwing a few chops on the braai is one way to celebrate our heritage, movies are another great way too.
In celebration of Heritage Day, we’re looking at six truly South African films to enjoy at home this long weekend.
District 9, 2009
District 9 was a hit amongst local and international movie-goers, with the film gaining a ton of attention. Neill Blomkamp does an excellent job directing this pseudo-documentary style film that features aliens as refugees and humans that have corralled them into “concentration camps.” The film is an interesting look at what many have described as an allegory of apartheid. Either way, it’s a great watch!
Ellen: The Ellen Pakkies Story, 2018
This incredible film is based on the true story of Ellen Pakkies, a Cape Flats mother who kills her drug-addicted and abusive son. The story itself is heartbreaking and is brought to life by the outstanding performances by Jill Levenberg (Ellen) and Jarrid Geduld (Abie). This movie is a must-watch for the performances alone, while the story brings to life the gritty and terrifying reality of life on the Cape Flats.
This little gem features South Africa’s favourite band, Die Antwoord (depending on who you ask), along with the directing powerhouse that is Neill Blomkamp. The film is jam-packed with some big names and big hearts, including Hugh Jackman and Dev Patel, who come together to deliver a gritty and excellent story. The story follows police droid Chappie, who is given the ability to think and feel, with the movie providing a beautiful look at human development.
My Octopus Teacher, 2020
2021 was a big year for filmmaker Craig Foster and this breathtaking documentary, which nabbed an Oscar at the Academy Awards to millions of ecstatic South Africans. This heartwarming documentary follows Foster as he spends each day diving in a kelp forest off the False Bay coast, meeting an octopus that teaches him a few things. The film itself is a great watch simply for the underwater ocean visuals.
Seriously Single, 2020
If you’re looking for a great rom-com to watch on Netflix, then Seriously Single is a fun and upbeat addition to your list. The film is a fun look at what happens when you mix social media and a break-up, providing well-written characters and a storyline that you’ll love. A must-watch, and not just for all the single ladies.
If you love horror movies, but you’re tired of the same old American tropes, 8 is a spine-chilling South African horror that will leave you awake. The film is made even eerier by the South African myths that many of us have grown up with. The synopsis alone is enough to give you nightmares: “An old man who is forced to gather souls for all of the time, seeks atonement. He tries to trade his own daughter’s soul in a bid to get his own back…” catch this movie on Netflix if you dare!