20090604 Wouter  Hilda hi-resWhat an impressive premier of a local movie. The Labia was buzzing last night with friends, media and even the stars of this little movie, who had arrived for the first official screening.

The Satyr of Springbok Heights is produced, directed and written by Robert Silke, who had all sorts of help from everybody involved on lots of levels, and so it’s this collaborative effort that makes the film work.

It’s all about this block of flats across the way from the Company Gardens in the middle of town, its history, design, and the people who lived, and live there, including a Satyr!

The movie is a mocumentary in the style of Confetti and I love the genre. There are two streams to the film; ‘real’ interviews with people who play themselves, talking about the block, Springbok Heights, and actors playing the people who live there. The ‘real’ people are architecture professor Fabio Todeschini, John Caviggia who knows everything about every style and period of everything, being a drama expert, and Sunday Times columnist Lin Sampson, who, slumped and virtually immobile in her chair, is hilarious and totally weird. Oh, and there are two excellent and very real cameos from two delightful street people, one very friendly and one not so very.

Some of the actors are Godfrey Johnson, who plays Wouter Malan, Victoria Caballaire who plays Hilda Steyn, Nicholas Spagnoletti who plays poor Nathan Golding and Nicole Franco who plays one part of a ‘lebanese’ couple. This is where the movie gets a little uneven. While the characters are huge and hilarious, the performance style is a little too big for the fake documentary style. Most successful is Nicholas Spagnoletti who underplays poor Nathan Golding perfectly. The others are terribly funny, but not very ‘real’, and even though I loved huge Hilda Steyn, I would have preferred slightly more ‘naturalistic’ performances.

That, and the funny way Lin Sampson referred to everybody in the past tense, were my two sticking points. Otherwise, I think the whole thing was quite fabulous. I loved Sean Michau’s music. I loved Nigel Murphy’s off screen interviews. I loved John Caviggia because he is so entertaining, and I mostly loved the fact that with no budget at all, Robert and his friends and connections made a full length feature and bladdy well put it on. Bravo to all involved!