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Alla älskar film! – Sydafrikanen

Inlägg av Therese Wåtz den 21 december 2017 i

All Älskar Film!

alla älskar film

Idag ska vi ta oss söder över, förbi ekvatorn och hela vägen bort till Sydafrika. Vi kommer att prata engelska (jag hoppas att det är okej för er) och stifta bekantskap med Ulrich Terblanche, född 1986, och som bor i Sydafrika men som studerade några år på KTH i Stockholm. En filmälskare från start som kommer ta oss lite igenom den sydafrikanska bioscenen och om hur det var att se film i Sydafrika när han växte upp.

Hi Ulrich, I would like to talk to you about your relationship to movies. How was it like growing up in South Africa, was movies something that you talked about a lot?

Usually we watched movies Saturday and Friday nights. It was mostly Video cassette loans from video stores that our babysitters brought or my parents would put movies on for the kids when friends came over. When I was very young, I used to recreate movies with my toys (mostly legos), especially sci-fi or fantasy and war, examples being Waterworld, Jurassic Park, Braveheart and the like (our movies do have age restrictions, but they were generally ignored). When I was older, my parents divorced and I lived with my mother, she did not own a TV so  I watched much less often, my friends and I usually chatted about movies during lunch break, our fascination moved from movies to computer games. We did not have much money so we could not go to theaters that often. When I started studying in Stellenbosch, I discovered the wonders of networks and piracy, then I would watch movies almost daily after class, or sometimes between classes. Whenever a very interesting movie came out it was conversation for at least a week over drinks, an example being Donnie Darko and Primer.

Donnie Darko

Donnie Darko

After my studies, I started working and had no internet access, so I also stopped watching movies or chatting about it. My flatmate and I would go and rent some Cinema Nouveau DVDs and watch that when we were hung over on Sundays. We rarely went to the cinema’s. In Sweden I reverted back to watching movies, maybe 3 times a week through downloads. I only went to the cinema once, with my wife Karlien, after she received free tickets. After Sweden, we finally had Netflix but it stopped being a topic of discussion among friends and we only try to watch good movies.

So, growing up, it would seem that movies was a big part of your life. Did you make family events when a new movie came out, or was it mostly you kids watching?

Yes, I was shaped by the movies I watched as a kid. Especially between the age 4 –  12. It was never a family event, my parents do not enjoy or watch movies that much and my brothers have a completely different taste than I do. I used to drag my mother to go see movies with me which required Parental Guidance (PG), my brothers never joined for that. Taking out videos was mostly used as a tool for the kids to sit still and not bother the grownups, in other words the parents never watched movies with us.

Animation movies always inspired me to draw, I would try to redraw the characters from those movies and create cutout art from pictures in magazine articles for movies like The Lion King and Aladdin. Our parents would go do shopping or the like, while we would watch the movie. It was less of a tradition and more like a personal enjoyment from my part.

South Africa was always late with movies, it only released in our cinemas a few weeks after USA, so we would read about it long before it showed. We therefore did not bother much with first releases, we only watched the movies when it was comfortable to do so, end of the month after we get our pocket money, on weekends, etc.

How did the cinemas look where you grew up? Were there big saloons?

Usually in a large shopping centres. Not free standing. There were 2 companies that had, and still has, most of the cinema market. Ster Kinekor and Nu Metro. They vary in size, but are generally large, with many different screanings at the same time, +-6. All of them have a big entrance, with a large counter selling pop-corn, snacks, cool drinks, etc.

This is what a medium sized one looks like:


In essence, they were modeled, albeit smaller, on the American type cinemas.

Example of a snack counter

Example of a snack counter

When I was very young, there were some drive-in cinemas that we went to. But all of them closed down now.



We generally do not go to the above cinemas anymore, due to the fact that they are in huge shopping centres (Gallerias) and they tend to be crowded with children. Recently, a niche market developing for small privately owned cinemas, these we still go to. Example being one near our house called Labia Theater.

Labia Theatre, Cape Town

Labia Theater, Cape Town

It is much smaller and lower quality, but it is very chilled and you can buy alcohol and take it into the theatre.

Another one being Pink Flamingo, which is open air and on top of a building, you can also buy alcohol there for the film.

Pink Flamingo Rooftop Cinema, Cape Town

Pink Flamingo Rooftop Cinema, Cape Town


South Africa has been featured on the big screen in recent years, in the works of director Neill Blomkamp (District 9, Elysium and Chappie). Would you say that that has had an effect on the cinema scene in South Africa?

South Africa’s cinema scene is not affected so much by big references. Most famous South African’s are not that well known in South Africa and people only realize they are from SA once they become famous in another country. An example being Charlize Theron and Arnold Vosloo. However, that being said, more recently people are becoming more aware of it, largely due to the growing filming industry. It did not affect the cinemas, but it did affect the industry in South Africa. With District 9 and a few other movies, SA become more popular as a filming destination, cheap labour, high skills, flexible regulations,etc. Some places took advantage of this. An example is that Cape Town realized the potential and helped create the Cape Town film studios where a lot of foreign films & series are made or partially made. South Africa is not reference as such, but there is noticeable landmarks that is seen in the movies itself. Movies and series that are made/partially made in SA include: Dredd (the new Judge Dredd movie), Black Sails, Safe House, Chronicle, Homeland, 10000 BC, Lord of War, etc.etc.

Dredd, on set in South Africa

Dredd, on set in South Africa

What I noticed was that the spill over effect seem to be an improvement in the quality of SA movies and more exposure to SA based stories. We see a lot more locally made, but Hollywood quality movies in our theaters. I only mentioned Hollywood, however, the same is happening for the Bollywood industry, which is also popular among many people in South Africa. Some theaters have dedicated slots for Bollywood movies and a large number of Bollywood movies are filmed in SA.

Thank you Ulrich, for telling us about your love of movies and how the cinema scene is like in South Africa.


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Skrivet av Therese Wåtz

En biolog som vill känna sig invigd och därför alltid letar efter detaljer och dolda budskap. Älskar riktigt bra karaktärsbeskrivningar men hatar övertydlighet. Har även en förkärlek till Will Ferrell och tecknat.

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