The movie, Sugar Man is now being seen in the townships of the Free State. Already well known internationally, the movie is written, edited and directed by Aryan Kaganof. Urbain Tila the first black man to produce a movie based on Bloemfontein city spoke with Jerry Seekoei about “Sugar Man”
JERRY: You’ve now watched the movie, Sugar Man. What was your general impression about it?
TILA: You know the interesting thing in our townships is how so many people can gather together to watch, exchange the DVD in question; so it has been with Sugar Man. There was one particular viewing session where over 25 people were watching the movie in a private house! To be honest, I think Sugar Man is very well produced, never mind its being shot by cell phone. It’s professionally done, with fine angles of shooting. That it was done in Jozy heightens the interest.
JERRY: But virtually all our black people who watched the movie have expressed anger and frustration that the black men could not sleep with such attractive white ladies in the movie.
TILA: Yes, that aspect, from our point of view, is unconvincing. We know that most black people – especially those virile young looking blacks in Sugar Man – will in reality be very excited about those women and will easily sleep with them. And these white women were very seductive, dancing, exposing their boobs etc. So why couldn’t those blacks rise to the occasion?
JERRY: And they (the blacks) paid Sugar Man a lot of money to sleep with those ladies…
TILA: That’s another thing (laughing) You know many of our people whilst watching the movie say something like: ‘If it was me I won’t waste such large money on a pimp. Even in Bloem here we know the many places where you can pick up an attractive white prostitute for 200 rand or even less! You don’t need the services of a pimp for that!'
JERRY: What about the portrayal of Sugar Man himself in the movie?
TILA: I thought there was something strange about it. Maybe because we are blacks…I mean, we know quite a few “pimps” locally and they are “jolly” fellows, not remote like Sugar Man; they (local pimps) in fact get intimate with their “girls” so to speak, they protect their monetary interests but they are passionate people!
JERRY: Did you read Bolaji’s review of the movie?
TILA: Of course. I read it very early this morning. But the “review” was not really a review; you know Bolaji is always trying to be fair. What he did was that he just largely published the comments and opinion of Aryan Kaganof on his movie!
JERRY: Are you saying there is something wrong with the writer, producer of a movie coming out to express his own thoughts, inspiration, on producing a book or movie?
TILA: No, I am not saying that. I mean – we have seen writers like George Orwell during his time coming out to confront reviewers, critics, of his classics like Animal Farm and 1984; with Orwell insisting that he did not like the way many of these commentators were misunderstanding what he had published…what I remember from Bolaji’s “review”; his own personal comment, is briefly that the movie, Sugar Man is sensuous!
JERRY: But Sugar Man is definitely sensuous
TILA: Of course it is! Great seductive scenes which come to nothing in the end in most cases! I love the part of those white ladies when they engage in love play, erotic scenes. It is very gripping. Tender, and…I know they’ll call me crazy – but the scenes look somehow decent. Like the ladies really like each other, are fond of each other…I don’t know how to explain it.