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Directed by Oliver Hermanus
Produced in 2011
Main Language - Afrikaans
Roeline Daneel, Sue Diepeveen, Charlie Keegan, Deon Lotz, Albert Maritz, Michelle Scott
A brilliantly-realised, piercing film about an obsessive middle-aged man's self-hatred and sexual denial, Beauty plays out lie a queer Vertigo, writes Mike McCahill.
The raw meat of this piercing South African drama is the awkwardness of men around feelings. At a wedding – a breeding ground for this stuff – handsome law student Christian (Charlie Keegan) catches the eye of family friend François (Deon Lotz). We suspect François, a balding, long-married fortysomething, may be jealous of this upstart, yet cracks are emerging in his bluff businessman’s façade: after rowing with his wife, he checks into a hotel and begins tailing the younger man. Christian isn’t a rival, but the object of a badly misplaced affection.
It’s high praise to call Beauty the queer Vertigo, yet Oliver Hermanus’s film similarly sets out to intuit exactly what its obsessive protagonist is thinking moment by moment – even if, as is clear from Lotz’s superb performance, those thoughts are tearing him apart. When, in a late-night confessional to Christian, François boasts 'some people don't know how to hold it together – I do', the full extent to which he's been deluding himself becomes painfully clear – even before this exceptionally realised film’s memorably tense and disturbing conclusion.
Mike McCahill on 17th September 2012
Author of 215 reviews
A provocative South African drama exploring the extent to which self-hatred and sexual denial can inflict damage on the life of a middle-aged man.
In Bloemfontein, South Africa, Francois - devoted husband and father to two daughters - lives a skillfully controlled, well managed family life, and is wholly unprepared when a chance encounter unravels his clean and ordered existence. 23 year-old Christian is the son of a long-estranged friend - and Francois is so disarmed by the young man that it instantly ignites within him an all consuming infatuation and misplaced lust.
Length: 105 mins
Cat No: PPD257
Format: DVD Colour