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#OnTheBigScreen: New local film, wolves, spies, and Van Gogh

Farewell Ella Bella, Down A Dark Hall, Alpha, Gold, The Spy Who Dumped Me and Vincent Van Gogh: A New Way Of Seeing opened at local cinemas this week...

Farewell Bella Ella

Writer-director Lwazi Mvusi’s Farewell Ella Bella was born out of the desire to break the mould in terms of how South African stories are told when it comes to our post-apartheid reality.

For a disillusioned waitress, her father’s death sparks the determination to leave behind her stagnant life as she embarks on a journey of self-discovery to Johannesburg that forces her to confront her past and lay her father to rest so she may realise her future.

For Ella (Jay Anstey), the death of her alcoholic father saddles her with nothing but debt and the bitter memory of a complicated past.

Abandoned by her mother at a young age, she has sacrificed her life, career opportunities, and love to care for a man she resents; leaving her adrift in the world after his passing. The re-emergence of her nomadic yet charming musician godfather, Neo (Sello Maake Kancube), at her father’s cremation gives Ella the opportunity to rediscover her identity by deserting the suffocating and constricting life she has lead in the small town of Beaufort West. She decides that she will bury his ashes at her childhood home in Johannesburg and that Neo - who is the epitome of a man-child - will be responsible for taking her there.

The story is a coming of age tale both for Ella and Neo as the twists and turns of the long, open freeways from the Western Cape through the Northern Cape and up to Gauteng enable them to find strength in each other, maturity within themselves, and wisdom in the characters they meet along the way.

Down A Dark Hall

Based on the classic gothic YA novel of the same name by Lois Duncan and produced by Stephenie Meyer, this supernatural thriller is directed by Rodrigo Cortés from a screenplay by Mike Goldbach and Chris Sparling.

Kit (AnnaSophia Robb), a difficult young girl, is sent to the mysterious Blackwood Boarding School when her heated temper becomes too much for her mother to handle. Once she arrives at Blackwood, Kit encounters eccentric headmistress Madame Duret (Uma Thurman) and meets the school’s only other students, four young women also headed down a troubled path. While exploring the labyrinthine corridors of the school, she and her classmates discover that Blackwood Manor hides an age-old secret rooted in the paranormal.


Imaginative storytelling allows today’s moviegoing audience to encounter an invigorating view of real history, and see the past come alive in this story of survival set 20,000 years ago.

An epic adventure set in the last Ice Age, Alpha tells a fascinating, visually stunning story that shines a light on the origins of man’s best friend. While on his first hunt with his tribe’s most elite group, a young man is injured and must learn to survive alone in the wilderness.

Reluctantly taming a lone wolf abandoned by its pack, the pair learn to rely on each other and become unlikely allies, enduring countless dangers, and overwhelming odds in order to find their way home before winter arrives. In a harsh landscape, when the future is uncertain, the bonds we make become our most important.

A universal tale of discovery and friendship, marked by authenticity, a richness of emotion, and stunning visuals, Albert Hughes directs and wrote the story for the original screenplay by Daniele Sebastian Wiedenhaupt.


Gold set in 1948 tells the historic story of the hockey team that won the first Olympic medal for India as a free nation on 12 August 1948. The same date this year commemorates the 70th anniversary of this historic feat.

The story of Gold highlights India’s emergence from the shadow of the British Empire as it meets the British hockey team on the field, this time as a nation in its own right. Gold is an inspirational story of a team that fought against all odds to bring their nation hope, pride, and respect.

The Spy Who Dumped Me

The Spy Who Dumped Me tells the story of Audrey (Mila Kunis) and Morgan (Kate McKinnon), two best friends who unwittingly become entangled in an international conspiracy when one of the women discovers the boyfriend who dumped her was actually a spy.

Audrey and Morgan are thrust unexpectedly into an international conspiracy when Audrey’s ex-boyfriend shows up at their apartment with a team of deadly assassins on his trail. Surprising even themselves, the duo jump into action, on the run throughout Europe from assassins and a suspicious-but-charming British agent, as they hatch a plan to save the world.

Vincent Van Gogh: A New Way Of Seeing

The much-desired exhibition on screen film Vincent van Gogh: A New Way of Seeing is back on Ster-Kinekor Cinema Nouveau screens for all art lovers. Experience an extraordinary biography of Van Gogh filled with his work’s fascinating beauty and troubled world on 18 August 2018.

Experience the showcasing of Van Gogh like never seen before through this iconic film which also features exclusive interviews with the curatorial team at the Van Gogh museum. Vincent van Gogh: A New Way of Seeingprovides an extraordinary biography of Van Gogh’s life made with privileged access to the treasures of Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum, featuring interviews with key curators and historians including Vincent Willem van Gogh (great-grandson of Theo van Gogh), Dominique Charles Janssens (President of the Institut Van Gogh), Axel Rüger (Director, Van Gogh Museum), and Van Gogh Museum Senior, as well as researchers Teio Meedendorp and Louis van Tilborgh. With complete access to the galleries and the storerooms, this film gives audiences unprecedented views of Van Gogh’s remarkable paintings and drawings.

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About Daniel Dercksen

As a freelance film and theatre journalist for more than 30 years, published playwright and creator of the independent training initiative The Writing Studio, Daniel Dercksen received the number one spot for most popular lifestyle contributor for 2012, 2014 and 2015, and 2nd spot in 2016 on