‘This is the voice of contemporary South African fiction’—Joanne Ruth Davis reviews Mphuthumi Ntabeni’
10) Homecoming is a US wannabe British Black Mirror that fails, about US soldiers who comes back from from war only to be made guinea pigs by a pharmaceutical companies with jaw clenching consequences. One the soldiers, helped by someone whose job was to erase their memory, sets about to correct the wrongs.
09) Top Chef is a cooking competition staged in different for the ultimate prize of being called top chef and an award to help open your own restaurant from. I am addicted to it.
08) Earth At Night In Colour is a gorgeously filmed at night series of nature documentaries that follows lives of different animals at night: lioness, elephant herds, two cheater brothers, jaguar, hawks hunting in the middle of the modern cities, etc. It's enthralling ever seen before behaviour of animals during nocturnal hours.
07) Losing Lerato is an endearing story of an unemployed father fighting for the right to see her daughter whose mother is married to a rich moron. Sometimes the story begs too much for you to suspend your powers of belief but it still manages to leave a warm feeling within you, especially in this age when black fathers are notorious for disappearing than showing up for their responsibilities.
06) Based on one of Elena Ferrate's Neapolitan novels My Brilliant Friend shows life under the poor rural towns of Southern Italy during the sixties. It is very slow, like the novels, with moments of exhilarating powers of observation. It is also a wise look at the enduring quality of female friendship. It has a quiet wisdom and an narrative tone the excavates a bygone era.
05) Midnight Dinner: Tokyo Stories showcases what happens within a restaurant that opens at midnight to serve food, only from available ingredients, with no menu. It is visited by a variant of people who, somehow, work city during these ungodly hours: police, actors, prostitutes, nightclub singers, etc. The simplicity of the show is addictive and has an entomological depth to it.
04) The Morning Show is about two TV show over paid anchors who live in a parallel universe until the show is hit by a #MeToo related topic scandal that unravels it. It looks at complexities of complicity from directors, fellow female anchor and so all. It also gradually trace the events that led to the tragedy that caused the scandal, exposing the culpabilities of those who ignored obvious signs because they put the needs for the success of the show above everything else.
03) The Undoing is a psychological thriller that depicts, step by episode step, the damage infidelity wracks on a marriage and a family at large. It also shows the myriad ways psychopaths can hide under normalcy and good career success. The last episode is something of a damp squid that spoilt the whole wonderful intense suspense of the previous episodes for me. And Hugh Grant acting, especially of emotional scenes was horrible.
02) Industry is an eight episode series about ten graduates who work as interns on the top Finance company in London, competing for a permanent seat after six months. Only five will be left standing and some serious shit will happen on this shark eats shark world of luxuriant life style: casual sex from pentup emotions, copious and expensive alcohol, drugs and food coupled with the usual trappings of decadence. Though such has been done before this has a complex gaze of British movie making that lends to stories beleivable pyschological depth, and the known story The Wolf of Wall Street is modernized the #MeToo generation.
01) How To Ruin Christmas: The Wedding is a South African three part brilliant comedy with a gorgeous soundtrack and hilarious look into the hip South African culture. It is about a black twenty something woman who is a black sheep of the family. She travels from the republic of Cape Town to Johannesburg to attend her sister's wedding. In Johannesburg she's picked from the airport by her ex-friend-with-benefits-lifetime-soulmate. She's sharp, cynical and horny. Troubles ensues with everything she touches turning the whole trip into an unplanned adventure with a little help from the uncles, cousins, useless and cruel fathers and the whole bunch you know is true with black families kaDezemba boza. It is a right laugh end to this horrible year.