article img

Siyabonga | Joshua Magor | Siyabonga Majola

[…] Emotional intensity and humour alternate constantly, and create a delightful rhythm through which we can have an immersive experience in the Eastern South-African countryside.

[…] Siyabonga came to Locarno with Joshua to present the film, and this incredible continuation of his real and filmic journey could be seen as a continuation of «Siyabonga» itself. During our interview in the Piazza Grande we had the feeling that the film truly expands, and interrogates the limits between the factual and the imagined.

loading player ...

Siyabonga does not only tell the story of the young Siyabonga, but the story of a meeting, between the man that wants to become an actor and Joshua Magor, the filmmaker attaining his first experience with a feature film. This is the story of a real meeting, and Siyabonga is nothing but the re-enactment of this documentary material. Therefore, the self-reflecting film plays between the real and the fictional. The real story already sounds like a film tale: after seeing an advert in a newspaper, the penniless Siyabonga does everything possible to go to the city to meet the filmmaker and become involved in a film project. Siyabonga at that moment also shows the meeting between township and city, and during the film we even discover the cohabitation of past and future, of trauma and hope respectively.

If all these social, geographical and temporal layers are astutely condensed in this film, its narrative remains linear and simple. It is not the line of the action that structures the plot however, but rather the composition of incisive filmic tableaux. Here the camera throws a slow and apparently distant sight on a reality that can always astonish us – often through the vivid details that Magor is able to capture in the daily life of the township. We have the impression that the life and its force definitely go further than the visible, immediately in the off-screen.

Emotional intensity and humour alternate constantly, and create a delightful rhythm through which we can have an immersive experience in the Eastern South-African countryside. The force of this site-specific aspect notwithstanding, we never remain at the contemplative level, as Siyabonga is entirely enlivened by its performative core: the film not only reveals reality, and expresses it, but also acts upon it, transforms it.

Siyabonga came to Locarno with Joshua to present the film, and this incredible continuation of his real and filmic journey could be seen as a continuation of Siyabonga itself. During our interview in the Piazza Grande we had the feeling that the film truly expands, and interrogates the limits between the factual and the imagined. If one wants to shape his/her own future, this interrogation cannot be taken any way other than very seriously.

Text: Giuseppe Di Salvatore | Audio/Video: Ruth Baettig

First published: August 19, 2018

Siyabonga | Film | Joshua Magor | ZAF-UK 2018 | 97’ | Locarno Festival 2018, Cineasti del presente

More Info 

Explore more

Newsletter Subscription

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay in touch