31 years later, “Sarafina!” has been chosen to screen at Cannes Film Festival

An official selection has been made to include one of South Africa’s most well-known movies in the lineup of this year’s Cannes Film Festival’s Cannes Classics.

Celebrities, movie buffs, and business people have been flocking to the French Riviera for the festival which started May 16, 2023 and will conclude on May 27, 2023. One of the highlights will be producer Anant Singh’s “Sarafina!” which debuted at Cannes Film Festival 31 years ago and received a 20-minute standing ovation.

Young Leleti Khumalo, Whoopi Goldberg, Miriam Makeba, Mbongeni Ngema, John Kani, and Somizi Mhlongo appear in the historical drama, which was directed by Darrell James Roodt and has a screenplay by Mbongeni Ngema and William Nicholson.

“Sarafina!” highlights the perseverance of young women who contributed to South Africa’s struggle for freedom. It is a dynamic fusion of dance, music, and drama that is still relevant now just as it was thirty years ago. Khumalo, who has won numerous awards, exclaimed: “It is so amazing to be returning to the Cannes Film Festival. We had a 20-minute standing ovation in 1992; what an incredible event! This year, I’m looking forward to experiencing that moment once more”.

Goldberg said: “Keep talking to the kids because they are going to fix it, they are going to make it happen, they are going to make change happen.” Singh claimed that getting chosen for the Cannes Classics is an exceptional and cherished honor.

He added: “We are privileged and thrilled that ‘Sarafina!’ has notched up another first by becoming the first South African film to be selected twice by the Cannes Film Festival, the most prestigious festival in the world.

“The World Premiere in 1992 sparked a renaissance of the South African film industry. ‘Sarafina!’s’ return to Cannes celebrates the timelessness of our stories and I hope this will motivate a new generation of film-makers.”

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