South African Directors - Manie van Rensburg, Katinka Heyns, Jans Rautenbach, Ross Devenish. Bibliography included.

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This year The South African Film Industry celebrates its 108th Birthday! It sure has come a long way, since South Africa was one of the first countries in the world to see (and hear) sound motion picture. From the Kinetoscope to the new millenium, here follows a brief discussion on the history of...


The origins of Documentary Filmmaking dates back to the Anglo-Boer War, when W.K.L. Dickson (who had perfected the motion picture camera and had worked for Thomas A. Edison) set out for South Africa in 1899 to record this war on film. The use of film, as a new medium for propaganda, was discovered and exploited during this time.

By 1908 the topical film was the most popular. Trick and comic film popularity shifted to dramatic films. "The Great Kimberly Diamond Robbery" (1910) was the first South African full-length feature drama film produced entirely in the country.

During the 1930's Afrikaans nationalism was emerging as a force and reached new levels of intensity during the 1940's. "Sarie Marais" (1931) portrayed the English/British cultural and economic imperialism negatively (the desire to spread the British language, culture and influence even where they were unwelcome). The National Censorship Act of 1931 was passed by Parliament, followed by the Entertainment Act, which demanded that all cinematic material be cleared before exhibition. This Afrikaans nationalism found expression in a number of Afrikaans-language films.

South Africa's first political thriller, Jans Rautenbach's "Die Kandidaat" was released in 1967, questioning the boundaries of Afrikaans identity. Rautenbach and Emil Nofal's "Wild Season" was a milestone work dealing with the generation gap between a forbidding fisherman and his learned son.

By 1969 Afrikaner capital was a significant factor in the industry: This year also saw the successful release of Rautenbach's "Katrina"...