Athol Fugard films etc 1970s
Early work including Fugard writing for television. The first filming of Boesman and Lena, and Fugard working with Peter Brook.
1979 Marigolds in August
A film screenplay written with Ross Devenish. Fugard, John Kani and Winston Ntshona together. "They say that people who talk to themselves are mad/ I wasn't talking to myself/ Who were you talking to/ God". Ntshona plays Daan, Kani plays Melton and Fugard plays Paulus Olifant. The other players are Joyce Hesha (Melton´s Wife), Mabel Ntshinga (Emily) and Dudu Nene, Zoal Marwanqa, Nomonde Mhlobiso and Tata U-Ngesi. Photography was by Michael Davis, Editing by Michael Davis and the producers were Jonathan Cohen and Mark Forstater.
Photo left of Winston Ntshona in Marigolds from Stephen Gary's Athol Fugard
1979 Meetings with Remarkable Men
A film about the mystic G.I. Gurdjieff, directed by Peter Brook. The child Gurdjieff wanders through Asia building up his experiences leading to him developing his way of thinking into The Fourth Way. The film has good visual scenes such as a child unable to escape out of the circle drawn in the sand until Gurdjieff breaks the circle for him, or the pack of dogs surrounding the travellers.
Fugard (above) has a role as the professor, one of the remarkable men Gurdjieff meets. But when the actors speak they are stilted and unnatural. The films ends up strangely like an early Hollywood biblical epic, the young Gurdjieff/Jesus in a number of episodes demonstrating his divine powers and understanding, then the older Gurdjieff´s words treated too reverently and so ending up as clichés.
The scene with the savage dogs is similar to a scene in The Omen filmed three years earlier. The scenes of dancing at the end of the film are good. Peter Brook would later stage Sizwe Bansi.
1979 A Lesson from Aloes
Directed by Ross Devenish for the BBC.
1978 Sizwe Bansi is dead
Starring John Kani and Winston Ntshona. Directed by John Davis for the BBC.
1977 Hello and Goodbye
Directed by Ross Devenish and starring Yvonne Bryceland and Bill Flynn.
1976 The Guest: an episode in the life of Eugene Marais
A TV screenplay written with Ross Devenish. Originally called The Guest at Steenkampskraal. Based on an episode in Leon Rousseau's biography of Eugene Marais Die Groot Verlange. Marais was the author of The Soul of the Ape and The Soul of the White Ant. A poet and naturalist he was addicted to morphine and looked at the animal world to understand the essence of addiction. Fugard played the role of Marais "an important experience and possibly the most demanding and challenging role I have ever attempted. I have returned with a love and understand for that little portion of the Highveld where we worked, that will stay with me the rest of my life."
"Athol Fugard plays the Afrikaner intellectual, naturalist, poet, author and rebel Eugene Marais, who publicly attacked Kruger's repressive Transvaal government and raised hackles by lecturing on 'The Joys of Opium'. Focused on when he was trying to overcome morphine addiction on a remote farm, Devenish's film is a dark, poetic examination of a life which, in Marais' words, was 'founded on pain and sorrow'. (from BFI programme)
Photo of Fugard playing the role of
Marais from Stephen Gray´s Athol Fugard
1974 Boesman and Lena
Directed by Ross Devenish and starring Fugard and Yvonne Bryceland. Sandy Tube plays Outa and other roles (not in the play) are Perey Sieff (fisherman), Robert Pennacchini (bulldozzer driver), Val Donald (bait-shop owner), Frank Zietsman (official) and Bert Coppin (bottle-shop owner). Fugard wrote the screenplay. Photography was by David Muir, editing by John Scott and Roger Harris, sound by James Watt and the producer was Johan Wight. The film "In Darkest Hollywood" includes excerpts from the film and discusses the difficulties of filming, with South Africa secret police watching them continually. The film begins with a recreated shanty town being demolished. The photo below of Fugard in the film from The Sunday Times, 9 Jul 1973 (quoted here).
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