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Ken Kaplan with Marius Weyers on set (Click to enlarge)CUE MAGAZINE INTERVIEW WITH
KEN KAPLAN

- Cue Magazine : July 2000 -

Do you think there is a new film culture coming out of South Africa?
PURE BLOOD received funding from the South African Government's Department of Arts & Culture - part of the new Film Development Initiative that has been started. It's actually the first of these films to be completely financed in South Africa and go into production. I managed to raise matching funds from Anant Singh, this country's biggest producer, and from Revolution Pictures. The rest I raised from private equity, so it's 100% homegrown.

I believe PURE BLOOD is a culturally significant film in that it has been made in the true independent spirit of filmmaking. This is very rare in South Africa and I don't know of a local feature to be made this way out of the Government's Development Initiative. We had no presales, no foreign stars, no studios or broadcasters put up the money. It's a lean and mean movie. It's the way our filmmakers will have to make films if we want to be free to express our own visions and stories.

So maybe, I don't know, this could be the start of some kind of a new wave of movies from here.

The film combines different styles and genres. There seems to be human drama, horror film elements, and a good dosage of tongue-in-cheek dark comedy?
Ever since my first short movie was banned as "undesirable" by the racist government in South Africa, I wanted to make a feature film that reflects the state-of-mind that created Apartheid and look at those people today and what they're going through. The film had to be accessible and entertaining and I chose to write a dark comedy that kept far away from the obvious heavy political drama of those anti-apartheid movies from the 1980's. PURE BLOOD is about a dysfunctional family, obsessed with their dark secrets from the past and a very unhealthy and screwball view of the future. I was inspired by the humour and social satire in films like PARENTS (dir: Bob Balaban), THE YOUNG POISONER'S HANDBOOK (dir: Benjamin Ross) and DELICATTESSEN (dir: Jeunet & Caro). These films made me laugh, but they also touched a tender nerve in their observations about families and the human condition.

I focused on the human drama, the things that motivate people to turn against one another, seeking revenge, and justification for their actions. I wanted to show the human dimension and play it off against the political allegory in the film.

For PURE BLOOD I used elements of Jacobean tragedy, the pulp fiction of that era. I turned to American splatter movies of this century and combined these themes into a story that deals with revenge, jealousy, betrayal, ascendancy and bloodline. In this I found really dark ghoulish humour.

When did you begin conceiving this idea and figure out that there was a movie in it?
I started writing PURE BLOOD when I was working as a Television News Producer for international networks covering South Africa and the political uprisings of the 1980's and early 1990's. I found myself under fire or under arrest for contravening the draconian media regulations the white minority government had instituted under the State Of Emergency.

I was angry with what I saw and I needed some way to express it.

The look and styling of the film is abstracted - when is the film actually set?
Well, I like to think that the film is taking place in a time that some say will never come. By that I mean that the film deals with a moment in history that we have been living through, a time of remarkable transition. I am talking really about white South Africans, who never thought the sun would ever set on their little corner of sunny Africa. But now things have changed and some are fearful, some are clinging to the past and all of us are trying to figure out where we fit in to this new country and its new democracy. There is often weird and funny ironies at work as people struggle with the way things are now in contrast to the things they once believed in. The time they thought would never come - has come and it's here to stay.

Above content courtesy of Cue Magazine.

 

 

 

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