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Photo courtesy of: Kyle Nielsen

The journal of the travelling cinephile
Episode 2 – South Africa, the multicultural land

Positioned at the south-end of the continent, South Africa is the ideal place, although unexpected, where you can grow your knowledge about human history. One of the oldest archeological sites and some of the most interesting fosiles in the world are situated here. It’s a country that astonishes through its culture but also through its nature. If you’re searching for inspiration you can follow the example of so many artists, especially film directors and writers, that have chosen this place for finding their muse.

On the land of this country surrounded by two oceans, South Atlantic and the Indian, with eleven official languages, people with different origins, cultures and religions live together. The multi-ethnic environment offers various perspectives, and each creator desires to better understand aspects that differentiate, and in the same time bring people together.

Photo courtesy of: Kyle Nielsen
Photo courtesy of: Kyle Nielsen

Paarl Mountain – Tomb Raider

One of the main attractions near Cape Town, the location where the film Tomb Raider was filmed, is the Paarl Mountain, perfect for moderate difficulty hikes, a place where you feel that you share the journey of the main character. Tomb Raider is an action film built around the story of the fearless Lara Croft, played this time by the film star Alicia Vikander, that embarks on a journey to find her father that disappeared under mysterious circumstances.
There are a lot of trails set up for hikers of all ages that desire to take advantage of the mild temperatures and to reflect on the daily events, but also to take a break from the tumultuous times that we live in.

Lion and Safari Park – Avengers:Avengers: Age of Ultron

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has fans of all ages spread on all continents due to its powerful and interesting superheroes. Avengers: Age of Ultron is the second film from the Avengers series, following up the story of heroes’ alliances from the first film.

Photo courtesy of: Kyle Nielsen
Photo courtesy of: Kyle Nielsen

South Africa’s climate and landscape are just a few of the elements that helped the development of its biodiversity. Lion & Safari Park offers you the chance to watch some of the most dangerous animals in their natural environment, and to feel the tension of natural dangers, similar to the one that superheroes feel when engaging in different fights with all types of beings. Here you can see lions, leopards, hyenas, wild dogs, giraffes, crocodiles, and many others. The features of these animals inspired many important creators to shape fantastic characters with unique traits. One of the most popular characters with superhero powers is Black Panther, performed marvelously by Chadwick Boseman who sadly passed away last summer at the age of 43. His black panther costume enriched his character with the force and the looks of a black panther.

Robben Island – Invictus

Film director Clint Eastwood in Invictus (2009) shared the story of the winning country South Africa at the 1995 Rugby World Cup. Inspired by real facts, the film is built around the character of Nelson Mandela that saw in a sports victory a way for people to look beyond the racial differences that might keep them apart.
The prison where Nelson Mandela, beautifully played by Morgan Freeman in Invictus, spent eighteen years, is situated on Robben Island, near Cape Town. Nowadays the prison is not functioning anymore as a detention centre, and can be visited by tourists. One could step into the cell where the former president was incarcerated for so many years. Another important location shown in the film is the Johannesburg Stadium where the South African Rugby team won in 1995. This location can also be visited by those who want to remember the live emotions of those present at that symbolic match, so important for sport history and for South Africa.

Photo courtesy of: Kyle Nielsen
Photo courtesy of: Kyle Nielsen

Cape Winelands – The Crown

The Crown series, produced by Netflix, is based on the biography of Queen Elisabeth II of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. In the 1st season the audience discovers the story of the Queen’s wedding and crowning, the protagonists being marvelously performed by Claire Foy and Matt Smith, while in the latest season, the 4th, Queen Elisabeth II is played by Olivia Colman, and the story is centered around her relationship with the Premiership of Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady.

Photo courtesy of: Kyle Nielsen
Photo courtesy of: Kyle Nielsen

One of the most powerful moments portrayed in the second episode of the first season of the series is when Princess Elizabeth, who was enjoying a short break in Kenya with Prince Philip, finds out that her father, King George had passed away. After discovering the wonderful scenery and spending some nights wildlife watching, the Princess received the sad news and became Queen Elizabeth, experiencing for the first time the love and respect of her people but also the burden of the duty. Although historically the location where all this happened was set in Kenya, the film crew chose South Africa to film these sequences. The Treetops Lodge, famous as the place where Queen Elizabeth II visited as a princess and left as queen was recreated in Cape Town.
Another place worth visiting that makes you feel like in a royal vacation is Cape Winelands where 142 vineyards are waiting for their visitors, offering tours and tastings events for the wines specially created among which the most famous ones are Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. Beside the vineyards, you can experience a royal treatment also by dining in one of the elegant restaurants from the area. This special environment offers a place for reflection and inspiration for a creative mind that rejoices at this touch of untamed nature.

Langa – Safe House

Safe House (2012) by the Swedish director of Chilean origin, Daniel Espinosa, brings on the large screen a hidden gem of the area, Langa, situated 10 km away from Cape Town. Here one could still experience the authenticity of a lifestyle shown by its inhabitants. Film’s protagonists Ryan Reynolds and Denzel Washington have been amazed by the warm welcome they’ve been offered by the people from this area. Guga S’thebe Arts and Culture Centre is one of the representative places for Africa where you can connect with the cultural scene. With so many galleries and art studios everyone who visits can bring back home a glimpse of the traditional African culture. For a deeper understanding of their culture you can choose a local sightseeing tour.

Photo courtesy of: Kyle Nielsen
Photo courtesy of: Kyle Nielsen

South Africa is a country surrounded by mystery and beauty, a true source of inspiration for creators from all around the world, a multicultural land that must be discovered, and why not do it through films?
Film O’Clock International Festival will simultaneously take place in Romania, South Africa, Greece, Lithuania, and Egypt, between February 27th-March 3rd 2021, and invites its audiences to a cinematic journey through the Festival’s program, bringing important film titles into the spotlight. We are inviting you to get to know this unique part of the world through stories and emotions shared by talented south-African film directors during our Q&A sessions and industry events.