’n Persoonlike rubriek
Anna-Marie Jansen van Vuuren
In die tagtigerjare is sy rolprente A Place of Weeping en The Stick verban weens hulle kritiese aard die Apartheidsregering en diensplig. In 2005 is sy rolprent Yesterday benoem vir ’n Oscar in die beste buitelandse rolprent kategorie. En in 2013 het hy weer die top 15 van dié kategorie gehaal, met sy kunsfliek Little One. Maar tussendeur het DARREL JAMES ROODT verskeie ander rolprente gemaak, meestal in Afrikaans, wat deur kritici as substandaard beskou is. Tog is hy eintlik die enigste Suid-Afrikaanse regisseur wat dit kan regkry om sy brood en botter te verdien deur slegs die regié van vollengte speelfilms te behartig. Met sy onlangse rolprente Verskietende Ster en Mignon Mossie van Wyk, wat kort op mekaar se hakke op die silwerdoek verskyn, het ANNA-MARIE JANSEN VAN VUUREN by dié regisseur gaan kersopsteek.
A: Jy maak ontsaglik baie flieks, maar dit lyk of Mignon Mossie van Wyk (2016) effens nader aan jou hart lê as van die ander is dit so?
D: Ja, beslis. Look, I really enjoyed Treurgrond (2015), I really did, and I invested a lot of my soul into that movie with Steve and everyone else that believed in that film. But it just did not struck a responsive chord with the audience. I don’t know why, because for me it was a very relevant film about South Africa. When I watch it now I still wonder: Why did people…? Anyway, dit is nou klaar. Then I tried my hand at the romantic comedy thing – which I enjoyed, it’s a fantastic genre, but you can’t dig deeper underneath it, you know. So when Mignon Mossie van Wyk came along I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to explore tieners in South Africa. I know there have been sex comedies like Bakgat en so aan, but I really wanted to explore how teenagers relate to each other. And it was amazing to do a teenage movie with real teenagers, as opposed to getting 24 year old actors dressed up as 17 year olds, as many films (local and international) do.
A: Ek het reeds met Little One myself daaraan verwonder oor hoe jy sulke realistiese toneelspel uit jong kinders te kry. En jy het dit nou weer met Mignon Mossie van Wyk reggekry, veral in die tonele waar die jong Mossie en Adriaan voorkom. Wat is jou tegniek?
D: Well, I guess you’ve got to trick it out of them, and I don’t always know how to do that, and then it can just drive you crazy. It’s really hard for them to process what they need to, at such a young age, in certain scenes, so you have to lead them there. And lucky enough with this film, I mean, Tanika, the girl who plays the lead role of Mossie, I was able to push her to reach the extreme stage that was needed for the character, and she managed to do that without seeming contrived, jy weet? When I first saw her I already realised she has this enigmatic character, and these days I operate the camera a lot, so during filming I would like “eavesdrop” on her with the camera… I would have just switched on the camera and watch what she did, and it was really interesting, she just filled the screen with her presence.
A: Ek verstaan nie altyd hoe verspreiders se koppe werk nie. Beide Verskietende Ster en Mignon Mossie van Wyk kom binne weke vanaf mekaar uit by teaters. Is jy bang die twee flieks gaan mekaar se gehore steel?
It’s a difficult situation, because I made that film about a year before I made Mossie, but its release date just kept being pushed back. I’m really proud of Verskietende Ster, I think it’s limited a bit by its themes. It’s a bit on the nose – for example there is one line in the film where it says you spell love J-E-S-U-S. And that should be a given, you shouldn’t have to spell it out. And that is isn’t a criticism on the writer. He really is a wonderful guy and he had a beautiful vision of the film. And it’s difficult for Deanré (Rheiners) too, because he stars in both films.
A: Jy het in jou regié dokument (directorial treatment) baie tyd afgestaan aan die styl waarop jy Mignon Mossie van Wyk benader het. Kan jy vir ons verduidelik wat dit behels?
D: Dit is ‘n baie groot woord… ‘n Engelse woord… Transcendental cinema… It is when something is banal, but then it transcends that banality and becomes something extraordinary. And for me, I think we have achieved that in this film, because on the surface it seems to be a film about young love gone wrong, but when the music kicks in and we take it to another place, it goes to a spiritual level. And I tried to do that with Seun (2015).
With Seun I also tried to explore that metaphysical space with the camera. And one reviewer really got it. He wrote that it was like Terrence Malick in the Karoo. You know Terrence Malick, who directed The Tree of Life (2011) and The thin red line (1998)? So when the reviewer said this about Seun, I thought “Oh yeah baby” – because he just has this intuitive emotional intelligence that just guides his camera and his characters’ emotions in this extraordinary way. I wasn’t trying to mimic that, I just let the kids do their thing and then instinctively I would film that, and I think I really got some beautiful shots. And for my soundtrack, I used the film Interstellar (2014) as a reference, because I think that film just had the most brilliant soundtrack. Interstellar was all about the fourth dimension, and I tried to explore that here. Ag, I’m sure it’s going to get knocked down again by reviewers saying that it doesn’t have enough of this or that of whatever… I just can’t win with the Afrikaans films, you know.
A: Do you think there is a certain expectation from Afrikaans audiences about films?
D: In a way, but that is a bit of a naïve way of approaching things. And I think it’s starting to change with for example Sara Bletcher directing Dis ek Anna (2015). Jy weet sy is mos ‘n Engelse vrou? As filmmakers we should be allowed to direct all South African films, whether it is in Afrikaans, Zulu or any of the other languages, because in the end we are all just human beings. With Trouvoete (2015) I was trying to be Afrikaans, and maybe that was ultimately the fault of the film. I was trying to be an Afrikaans director, and I just couldn’t. So with Mossie I didn’t think about it that way. Dis nie ‘n Afrikaanse of ‘n Engelse fliek nie. Dit is net ’n fliek oor regte mense.