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TIFF 2013 Preview - South African Film Adaptation Of Operatic 'Noah's Ark' Story w/ Black Cast

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by Tambay A. Obenson
August 14, 2013 1:01 PM
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Noye’s Fludde

As I noted in an earlier post, I'm salivating over the Contemporary World Cinema section of this year's Toronto International Film Festival. Several films whose production progress we've been following over the last 12 to 24 months will be screening at the festival (many making the World premieres) when it kicks off next month, September 5.

Here's another one to get excited about.

We featured their last production, U-Carmen, an adaptation of perhaps the world's most-loved opera, Bizet's Carmen, and to follow that acclaimed film, the internationally acclaimed South African Theater CompanyIsango Ensemble, is re-imagining another operatic work, this time, Benjamin Britten’s 1957 piece, Noye’s Fludde.

Director Mark Dornford-May (who made his feature film debut with U-Carmen) wrapped production on what was originally titled Unogumbe, but will retain the title of Britten's original opera, which is a medieval retelling of the Noah's Ark story.

The film stars stars Pauline Malefane, who also starred in U-Carmen, playing the lead role, updated to "Mrs Noah," in a work that's described as a complete reworking of Britten's original opera piece.

True to form and following our Berlinale winner UCarmen eKhayelitsha and Sundance hit Son of Man, the Isango company have come up with a thoroughly engaging and wonderfully entertaining piece of work,” said producer Film & Music Entertainment’s Mike Downey. “We will be in Cannes to sign an international sales company for the film as well as to present for selection at upcoming A Festivals.

The film stars Khayelitsha Township-based theatre company Isango Ensemble. 

Here's how TIFF describes it:

This modern adaptation of a Benjamin Britten one-act opera on the myth of Noah’s flood is sung entirely in Xhosa, with South African opera star Pauline Malefane as Noah, and is a striking metaphor for man’s inhumanity to man. A stunning feat from a troupe whose U-Carmen eKhayelitsha won the Golden Bear at Berlin in 2005.

Making its World Premiere at TIFF next month, here's your first look at Noye's Fludde, via a trailer:

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