It’s quite weird sitting in a movie theatre alongside one of the stars of the movie you are watching. That’s what happened last night when a whole bunch of us went to the V&A Waterfront to watch Black Butterflies. (When last did anyone go to the movies at prime time on a Saturday night?)
Black Butterflies is a bio-pic about famous South African poet Ingrid Jonker, her crazy relationship with her father, her tempestuous relationships with men, her dependence on her sister, her poetry, her life and her death. Our fabulous Candice D’Arcy plays her sister.
The movie is slow, brooding, dark, painful and extraordinary. Set in the 60’s in a very clean but apartheid controlled Cape Town, the styling is magnificent. The old cars, the Sea Point promenade, the township, the blocks of flats and hotels. But mostly there is the sea; the wild, bright, hectic, amazing, gloomy, powerful, dangerous, vicious Atlantic that teases, torments and destroys. A lot like Ingrid.
This locally written (and mostly local talent) movie transcends what we have come to expect from a South African film. While it is set during apartheid, and the effects of it are continually felt, it never preaches or becomes message driven. It is a masterfully shot, beautiful art movie, making me want to go and fish out those Ingrid Jonker poems again. And Candice D’Arcy is fabulous.