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The River Wins Big at The SAFTA’s!

The telenovela’s spine chilling production gets the honours.

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The ongoing national Lockdown may have disrupted everything that can’t go ahead with the haulting of operations across most industries, but the South African Film and Television awards weren’t about to skip this year’s shindig.

In line with the rise of entertainment experiences that are being put online, this year’s SAFTA’s, hosted by Dineo Ranaka, took place virtually.

It’s here that The River scooped no less than ten gongs for their stellar delivery of riveting storylines, a brilliant cast and an overall top notch production.

The 1Magic telenovela, which is produced by Tshedza Pictures, took home a bunch of prestigious trophies in 10 categories, which include Best Achievement awards in Scriptwriting, Telenovela and amongst others Best Editing.

RELATED: STAY ON TOP OF ALL THE MZANSI LOCKDOWN ENTERTAINMENT 

Sindi Dlathu, whose portrayal of the ruthless Lindiwe recently helped her scoop the Favourite TV Actress award at the DStv Viewers’ Choice Awards, triumphed once more as she received the Best Actress in a Telenovela award. On The River, Dlathu has displayed range in her ability to embody her multi dimensional character.

The actress can seamlessly switch from being a calculating and ruthless boss lady to being a vulnerable pariah navigating a devastating fall from grace with finesse.

The telenovela got another nod for the cast’s acting chops as Mary-Anne Barlow walked away with the Best Supporting Actress – Telenovela award.

Other big winners included Florence Masebe, who received the Best Actress – Drama award. Recently, Masebe has been elevating the conversation about the funding and fair treatment of those who work in the South African creative industry. Mzansi Magic has yet to announce whether or not the popular drama series has been commissioned for another season.

Bongani Mantsai took the Best Actor award in a TV Soap for his performance on Scandal! The soapie is the highest rated show on e.tv and has been churning out riveting plots in recent episodes.

The channel’s focus on quality production was also highlighted when Rhythm City scooped the Best Supporting Actress in a TV soap (Kgomotso Christopher), Best Supporting Actor in a TV Soap for Mncedisi Shabangu, as well the Best TV Soap award.  Imbewu won Most Popular TV Soap/Telenovela gong.

And a bit of a rough April, what with being charged for spreading fake news by the minister of transport Fikile Mbalula in one hell of a shocker, Somizi has a lot to smile about. In it’s 4th season, his reality show Living The Dream With Somizi scooped the award for Best Structured or Docu-reality Show.

The season was a refreshing chronicle of Somizi and Mohale’s journey to marriage. We got glimpses of how the couple navigated their journey as a gay couple wanting to get hitched in a landscape that be sometimes fiercely heterosexist. Their journey culminated to their Showmax Wedding Special. 

FULL LIST OF SAFTA 2021 WINNERS

  • Best Short Film: The Letter Reader
  • Best Student Film: Moya
  • Best Achievement in Directing – Telenovela: The River
  • Best Achievement in Directing – TV Soap: Rhythm City
  • Best Achievement in Scriptwriting – Telenovela: The River
  • Best Achievement in Scriptwriting – TV Soap: Getroud met Rugby
  • Best Achievement In Original Music/Score – Telenovela: Isibaya
  • Best Achievement in Editing – Telenovela: The River
  • Best Achievement in Sound – TV Soap/Telenovela: The River
  • Best Achievement in Cinematography – Telenovela: The River
  • Best Achievement in Wardrobe – TV Soap/Telenovela: The River
  • Best Achievement in  Make-Up and Hairstyling – TV Soap/Telenovela: The River
  • Best Achievement in Art Direction – TV Soap/Telenovela: Arendsvlei
  • Best Actress – Telenovela: Sindi Dlathu – The River
  • Best Actor – Telenovela: Roberto Kyle- Arendsvl
  • Best Supporting Actress – Telenovela: Mary-Anne Barlow – The River
  • Best Supporting Actor – Telenovela: Loyiso MacDonald – The Queen
  • Best Actress – TV Soap: Denise Newman – Suidooster
  • Best Actor – TV Soap: Bongile Mantsai – Scandal!
  • Best Supporting Actress – TV Soap: Kgomotso Christopher – Scandal!
  • Best Supporting Actor – TV Soap: Mncedisi Shabangu – Rhythm City
  • Best TV Soap: Rhythm City
  • Best Telenovela: The River
  • Best Achievement in Directing – TV Drama: The Republic
  • Best Achievement in Scriptwriting – TV Drama: The Republic
  • Best Achievement in Editing – TV Drama: Spreeus
  • Best Achievement in Sound – TV Drama: The Republic
  • Best  Achievement in Original Music/Score – TV Drama: Spreeus
  • Best Achievement in Art Direction – TV Drama: Shadow
  • Best Achievement in Wardrobe – TV Drama: Ifalakhe
  • Best Achievement in Make-Up and Hairstyling – TV Drama: Ifalakhe
  • Best Achievement in Cinematography – TV Drama: The Republic
  • Best Actress – TV Drama: Florence Masebe – The Republic
  • Best Actor – TV Drama: Wiseman Mncube – eHostela
  • Best Supporting Actress – TV Drama: Brenda Ngxoli – iThemba
  • Best Supporting Actor – TV Drama: Seputla Sebogodi – The Republic
  • Best TV Drama: The Republic
  • Best Achievement in Directing – Documentary Feature: Buddha in Africa
  • Best Achievement in Cinematography – Documentary: The Sound of Masks
  • Best Achievement in Editing – Documentary: The Fun’s Not Over: The James Phillips Story
  • Best Achievement in Sound – Documentary Feature: Dying for Gold
  • Best Documentary Feature: Buddha in Africa
  • Best Natural History and Environmental Programme: STROOP: Journey into the Rhino Horn War
  • Discretionary Award – Natural History and Environmental Programme on Innovative Research: Cave Crocs of Gabon
  • Best Children’s Programme: Words and Numbers Series 9
  • Best Competition Reality ShowUltimate Braai Master
  • Best Structured or Docu-reality Show: Living The Dream With Somizi Season 4
  • Best International Format Show: Celebrity Game Night S1
  • Best Factual & Educational Programme: Op Seer Se Spoor
  • Best Current Affairs Programme: Checkpoint – Work Hazards
  • Best Variety Show: Mooi
  • Best Youth Programme: MTV Shuga Down South 2
  • Best Entertainment Programme: Emo 30 Jaar In Musiek
  • Best Lifestyle Programme: Elders: Japan
  • Best Made for TV Movie: Droomman
  • Best Achievement in Directing – Feature Film: Knuckle City
  • Best Achievement in Scriptwriting – Feature Film: Fiela se Kind
  • Best Achievement in Cinematography – Feature Film: Die Verhaal van Racheltjie de Beer
  • Best Achievement in Sound Design – Feature Film: Die Verhaal van Racheltjie de Beer
  • Best Achievement in Original Music/Score – Feature Film: Die Verhaal van Racheltjie de Beer
  • Best Achievement in Editing – Feature Film: Knuckle City
  • Best Achievement in  Production Design – Feature Film: Knuckle City
  • Best Achievement in Costume Design – Feature Film: Back of the Moon
  • Best Achievement in Make-Up and Hairstyling – Feature Film: Knuckle City
  • Best Actress – Feature Film: Clementine Mosimane –Poppie Nongena
  • Best Actor – Feature Film: Bongile Mantsai – Knuckle City
  • Best Supporting Actress – Feature Film: Anna-Mart van der Merwe –Poppie Nongena
  • Best Supporting Actor – Feature Film: Patrick Ndlovu – Knuckle City
  • Best Feature Film: Fiela se Kind
  • Lifetime Achiever Award: Thembi Mtshali-Jones
  • Youth Achiever Award: Thabo Welcome
  • Outstanding Person with Disability Contributor Award: Boitsheko Keabetswe Malebo Matlhage
  • Outstanding Provincial Contributor Award: Luzuko Dilima
  • Emerging Filmmaker Award: Vusi Africa Sindane
  • Best TV Presenter: Entle Bizana – Hectic on 3
  • Most Popular TV Soap/Telenovela: Imbewu

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Squid Game Ending Explained; We’ve Been Scammed

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We’ve been had, and Squid Game is here to prove it.

When the end of the South Korean horror drama arrives on the ninth episode, the winner finds himself harrowed by what the coveted prize has cost his soul. In the rat race for survival, along with a better life that hinges on the never ending hustle, there’s no time to stop and see the horror our lives become. By the end, we see how the winner has sold his soul for a crappy deal that came with a few toys, and a happy meal.

A group of 456 players are mysteriously invited to take part in a set of children’s games for a grand prize of $38 million, which will be enough to give the winner the financial freedom they desperately need. The players are selected from different walks of life, with the burden of excessive debt being their biggest motivation to give the Game a go.

The first of deepening terrors comes during the first game, when the players discover that penalties for losing in the challenges will be death. DEATH. Horrified, the players initially vote to leave and return to their lives.

This noble departure doesn’t last long; their material realities as fugitives on the run from debt collectors only highlights the glow of the precious promise they’ve now left behind. When they return for the second time, they now consent to their highly probable deaths.

Led by Lee Jung-jae, who plays Seong Gi-hun, a taxi driver with a gambling addiction, the South Korean series has become somewhat of a global phenomenon. Now the most streamed Korean series of all time, Squid Game is also said to be on pace to dethrone Bridgerton as the most streamed series in the history of Netflix. And it’s with good reason. Squid Game is a trip.

Survival is the drive. The blues of a broke life pile up for Seong Gi-hun, who’s daughter is being taken away to the US by her mother and step father. His mother is battling deteriorating diabetes and even in her frail condition, is still working hard to make ends meet. It’s during the peak of his frustrations that Gi-hun is randomly invited to take part in the Game.

After accepting the offer, he finds himself in a discreet location along with 455 players, who are also drowning in debt. The players are kept under an authoritarian system of surveillance. Masked guards in pink suits keep the scene under control under the supervision of the Front Man. Gi-hun allies with other players, including his childhood friend Cho Sang-woo, as a the most strategic way to survive the bloody challenges.

Amongst those that end up in this team is player 001, a frail old man who who became his “gganbu”. Sae-byeok, who was also in the team, was killed by Sang-woo, Gi-hun’s childhood friend, team member and flip-flopping ally. Several other team members had to be killed by their team mates, which revealed the wickedness of the games.

In the end, Gi-hun’s victory came without an apology. He had to defeat a close ally in the games, the old and frail player 001. They’d bonded throughout their time, but in the end he had to advance himself against those he’d built alliances. As the games progressed, the players found themselves having to face tough calls. Someone else has to die for you to make it another day.

After a series of brutal games, it comes down to childhood friends Gi-hun and Cho Sang-woo. They’d played different games, with Sang-woo having played hard and stopping at nothing to win. Gi-hun is mad at Sang-woo for a series of betrayals, including him stabbing Sae-byeok to her death. In the end, Gi-hun wins when Sang-woo apologised and kills himself.

Yet despite emerging a winner, Gi-hun finds that the cost of becoming an overnight billionaire has bankrupted his soul. For a year following the day his bank account was loaded with a nine zero figure, he didn’t touch the money. After all, he returned to find his mother dead on the floor. One of his motivations was getting the money to get her medical help over her advancing diabetes.

THE ENDING

Gi-hun is clearly troubled by the bodies upon which his new wealth rests. A year passes and he hasn’t touched the money – even oddly reverting to old patterns of asking for loans to get by. It might be late to be so concerned about the moral questions surrounding the games now – the long and short of it is he won and his life has changed.

Later, he is shocked to find out that the “gganbu” who had to be killed after losing to him in a game of marbles, was never really killed.

In a shocking plot twist that changes everything – he also finds out that the old man is in fact the creator of the games! Finding him in a medical bed after receiving a mysterious invite to the location, Gi-hun discovers that the man’s real name is Oh Il-nam, an obscenely rich fella who created the games in 1988 (the same year Korea hosted the Olympics for the first time) purely for their entertainment. We already know by now that ‘the VIPs’ are a bunch of morally bankrupt elites who find pleasure in watching the poor masses slaughtering each other for money in a broken system. Where have we heard that before?

Although his participation in the games as player 001 was a farce, what he told Gi-hun back then, that he had a brain tumour, had been true. And of course, he challenged him to another sick game. A man had been freezing to death on a street pavement, and Oh Il-nam challenged Gi-hun to guess to bet on the odds that someone who help him when the clock strikes 00:00 at midnight. As Gi-hun wins, Oh Il-nam dies.

We assume this marks the end of the games. However later in the episode, Gi-hun sees the man who recruited him doing it to someone else. He runs to stop what is happening, but arrives at the exact scene late, the train has already taken off. Later on the way to boarding a flight, he turns and calls a number. “I can’t forgive you for everything you’re doing,” he tells ta man we assume to be In-ho. He turns back, clearly about to begin his new mission.

What we know now, is that Oh Il-nam created the games to tickle the sick tastes of his sick rich network. But he is now dead. Who is now behind the games? This, and Gi-hun’s passionate manifesto, are strong indications that next season of the series is already shaping up to a different arc. It’s his final transformation, and he is ready to take down the operation and those behind it. He won’t allow people to be “horses” for the entertainment of wealthy elites.

We know that In-ho shot Jun-ho in a bid to stop him from alerting the police about the games. The signal was bad, delaying the delivering of the evidence Jun-ho had been trying to send in several texts, right up to the moment the moment he plunged from a cliff and hit the water. What we don’t know is whether the messages were really not delivered. There’s also no conclusive evidence that Jun-ho is dead.

Potentially, the biggest lesson from season one is that our relentless pursuit for material success in a punishing money system kills us.

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First Look at HBO’s Game of Thrones Spin-Off ‘House of The Dragon’

DRACARYS!

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Things look promising for HBO’s upcoming drama series, The House of Dragon. The highly buzzed Games of Thrones prequel’s first visual teaser has been met with much fanfare, raking in more than 8,6 million views on Youtube within two days of its arrival.

The House of Dragon

Photo Credit: HBO via Twitter

First reactions and buzz around the epic teaser have been strong indications that the series, slated to premiere in 2022, is off to a good start despite the infamous final season slump suffered by G.O.T. And it could mean that maybe, just maybe,  the world ready to let old baggage go.

The House of Dragon, created by an entire different team, will arrive about three years since the cold winter. The cast includes Matt Smith, Paddy Considine and Sonoya Mizuno who will be bringing to life a different era of Westeros.

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Midnight Mass is Creepy With A Dark Subtext and You Need To See it

‘God’s angel’ had sinister plans for the town.

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The reign of terror plunges a small and quiet town to ashes when the arrival of a charismatic yet mysterious priest coincides with the return of a disgraced young man who has just been released from prison.

While Riley (Zach Gilford) initially finds that Crockett Island and its 127 residents – along with his childhood sweetheart Erin (Kate Siegel) – still conduct a mundane existence, Pastor Paul (Hamish Linklater) soon changes that.

Midnight Mass

“The LORD’s angel”‘s life giving blood comes scams locals into horrible mistakes on Midnight Mass.

When the island’s much loved Roman Catholic senior priest takes a trip to the pilgrimage and never comes back, an energetic new priest takes his place at the Holy Land church. And while his arrival brings with it a new wave of spiritual revival amongst the island community, something sinister begins to haunt the town.

With each episode, the esoteric occult that powers Paul’s ability to perform astounding miracles and mesmerise the islanders, slowly gains dominion over the unsuspecting community. Instead, they begin taking up a renewed interest in the church as word of mouth spreads about the signs and wonders. Much like Jesus Christ was able to draw crowds wherever he went, the appearance of Paul’s supernatural power is able to attract even those who’d remained sceptics their lives.

It’s the blending of the sacred and the sinister. The taking of communion that has been contaminated with demonic blood, which functions as the miracle drug promising eternal life.

We soon find out the miracles come at an unthinkable cost.

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