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#OnTheBigScreen: Respect and Black Widow

In line with Women's Month, two women-centred films enter the South African box office this weekend: Respect and Black Widow.


When Director Liesl Tommy conceptualised the cinematic narrative of Aretha Franklin’s life, she was inspired to tell the story of a woman who had the greatest voice in the world but who still did not know know what her voice meant, which became the spine of the highly anticipated film Respect, directing from a screenplay by Tracey Scott Wilson.

Following the rise of Aretha Franklin’s career from a child singing in her father’s church’s choir to her international superstardom, it tells the remarkable true story of the music icon’s journey to find her voice.

Aretha Franklin was a musical genius. Her voice, songwriting, production and performances speak to her artistic gifts and vision that made her one of the most renowned singers in history. Ms Franklin was nominated 44 times for Grammy Awards — she won 18 of those awards. She was also honoured by the Recording Academy with a Legend Award (1991), Lifetime Achievement Award (1994) and a Music Cares Person of the Year Award (2008). She graced the cover of Time Magazine on 28 June 1968, with the headline: “The Sound of Soul”. It’s no wonder Aretha Franklin is the undisputed Queen of Soul.

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Black Widow

When editor and plotter Stan Lee, scripter Don Rico and artist Don Heck created the fictional character of Black Widow in 1964 in Tales of Suspense #52, they never would have dreamed that 57 years later screenwriter Eric Pearson would delve into her backstory and deliver the original action-packed spy-thriller Black Widow.

In Black Widow, Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow confronts the darker parts of her ledger when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past arises. Pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down, Natasha must deal with her history as a spy and the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger.

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Read more about the latest and upcoming film releases. 

About Daniel Dercksen

Daniel Dercksen has been a contributor for Lifestyle since 2012. As the driving force behind the successful independent training initiative The Writing Studio and a published film and theatre journalist of 40 years, teaching workshops in creative writing, playwriting and screenwriting throughout South Africa and internationally the past 22 years. Visit

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