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Showing posts with label Wah-Wah. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wah-Wah. Show all posts

Thursday, 3 July 2008

NO SWAZILAND DOCO = NO NEWS

Richard E Grant, a famous ‘son of Swaziland’ is not going to make a documentary about the kingdom.

A website called Showbizspy.com reported this yesterday (2 July 2008). It went on to quote Grant saying it would be ‘inappropriate’ because although he was born in the kingdom’s capital Mbabane he is a white man and he comes from colonial times.

Grant made the news in 2005 when his semi-autobiographical film Wah-Wah, which was set in 1960s Swaziland, was released.

What interests me about this report is that it is not ‘news’ Grant had never said he was going to make a documentary. It’s not as if he had announced a plan and then changed his mind.

There never was a plan. End of.

What we see here is one of the oldest tricks in the book of lazy journalists. What you do is ask someone if they are going to do something that might be of interest to readers, and when they say ‘no’ you have a story.

If you really want to ham it up a bit you might even call the decision not to do something a ‘snub’.

Here’s how it works. Contact the press office of Queen Elizabeth II and ask if she is planning to come to Swaziland on a visit. When the press office says she has no plans, you write the Queen not visiting Swaziland story. If you feel mean you can put up the headline QEII Snubs Swaziland.

If you really want to create mischief go for the headline QEII snubs King Mswati III.

You see how easy it is.

See also
SWAZILAND FILM WAH-WAH ON DSTV

Thursday, 17 January 2008

SWAZILAND FILM 'WAH-WAH' ON DSTV

I wrote in November 2007 about how the film about Swaziland called Wah-Wah had been put up on the Internet for anyone to see.

I know with the poor Internet connections we have in Swaziland this is not a very easy way to watch a movie.

So, the richer readers of this blog might be pleased to know that the movie is being shown by satellite broadcaster M-Net on DSTV from this week.

Wah-Wah was made in 2005, and is a fictionalised account of the last days of British rule in Swaziland, came out. The film, directed by Richard E Grant, is the story of his childhood in Swaziland in the1960s.

Personally, I think the film ignores the exploitation of Swazi people by the British and instead concentrates on a not very interesting story about a young British boy and his family.

The film was shot in Swaziland and there are some good views of the kingdom. The scenes of the day Swaziland received its independence are worth watching.

Because I’m a fair kind of person, I searched the Internet to find a really positive review of Wah-Wah to share with you.

I didn’t quite succeed. But I did find this on a website called Urban Cinefile from Australia

This is a platinum plated cast: Gabriel Byrne is at his best as the decent but troubled, heartbroken alcoholic, while Miranda Richardson cuts loose as his self serving wife. Emily Watson delivers a remarkable characterisation of Ruby, an American who is like a cat amongst the pigeons of England. Julie Walters and Celia Imre (she often plays Queen Elizabeth II look-alikes) are splendid as very different dames of the colony, and Julian Wadham grates just right as Charles, the stuck up oaf. But none of these are caricatures, which saves the film from a fate worse than death: boredom.

I admire how Grant's writing and direction take Africa for granted (pardon the pun) in the sense that we are spared longing long shots of landscapes and similar signs of awestruck filmmaking. He's telling a story about lives shattered, rebuilt and otherwise traversed, in a passage of time that impacts most heavily on the storyteller: puberty. Ralph's rescue is partly engineered by an early romance which is neatly and tastefully built in, while the resolution is bitter sweet - enough to make it real, yet uplifting. It's is the real thing, no wah-wah about it.


The first showing by M-Net of Wah-Wah was this week. Anyone who watches DSTV will know that the movies get repeated over and over again. So, it’s a bit like the buses to Manzini, if you missed one don’t worry there’ll be another along in a while.

See also
‘WAH-WAH’ ON THE INTERNET

Monday, 5 November 2007

'WAH-WAH' ON THE INTERNET

One of the annoying things about living in Swaziland (and let’s face it there are many) is that it is not easy to get hold of films about the kingdom, even though they are easily available in other parts of the world.

I wrote last Wednedsay about the award winning documentary Without the King which is doing the rounds of the world’s film festivals. It is also available to buy on DVD. But when I emailed the production company that was offering the DVD for sale on the Internet they told me they didn’t ship to Swaziland.

In 2005, a film called Wah-Wah, which is a fictionalised account of the last days of British rule in Swaziland, came out. The film, directed by Richard E Grant, is the story of his childhood in Swaziland in the1960s.

Wah-Wah, which stars many British actors, has been seen all over the world, but since we don’t have a single cinema here in Swaziland it has not been easy to see in the country of the film’s birth.

This is really a long-winded way of reporting that Wah-Wah is now available to view to anyone with a computer and a decent Internet connection.

Some enterprising person has put the film up on the video share site You Tube. (We all need to turn a blind eye to the fact that this is illegal for copyright reasons). If you absolutely must see the film this way you can click here

I’ve already seen the film myself (from a DVD I borrowed from an English friend) and I found it pretty boring. It’s set in the 1960s and is about a group of snobbish British families who mostly work in highly paid jobs who exploit the local Swazis (although the film doesn’t make this clear).

The film was shot in Swaziland and there are some good views of the kingdom. The scenes of the day Swaziland received its independence are worth watching.

Because I’m a fair kind of person, I searched the Internet to find a really positive review of Wah-Wah to share with you.

I failed. But I did find this on a website called Urban Cinefile from Australia

This is a platinum plated cast: Gabriel Byrne is at his best as the decent but troubled, heartbroken alcoholic, while Miranda Richardson cuts loose as his self serving wife.

Emily Watson delivers a remarkable characterisation of Ruby, an American who is like a cat amongst the pigeons of England. Julie Walters and Celia Imre (she often plays Queen Elizabeth II look-alikes) are splendid as very different dames of the colony, and Julian Wadham grates just right as Charles, the stuck up oaf. But none of these are caricatures, which saves the film from a fate worse than death: boredom.

I admire how Grant's writing and direction take Africa for granted (pardon the pun) in the sense that we are spared longing long shots of landscapes and similar signs of awestruck filmmaking. He's telling a story about lives shattered, rebuilt and otherwise traversed, in a passage of time that impacts most heavily on the storyteller: puberty.

Ralph's rescue is partly engineered by an early romance which is neatly and tastefully built in, while the resolution is bitter sweet - enough to make it real, yet uplifting. It's is the real thing, no wah-wah about it.