Tag Archives: model

Free State of Mind: Andrew Govender Discusses Acting, Tradition, and Religion

Free-State-Updated-PosterThis is the third and final installment of “Free State of Mind”, a series of Q&As with the cast and crew of a South African film currently making the rounds at film festivals. You can read my review here, find out more about its creation from producer Terwadkar Rajiv here, and get some insight on how co-lead Nicola Breytenbach’s prepared for her role here.

Today’s interview is with Andrew Govender, who plays Ravi, the other half of the couple at Free State‘s core. Another former model like his co-star, he began his career at just sixteen-years-old. Being crowned Mr. South Africa in 2012 is only one of his many achievements, which include creating the Andrew Govender Book Club with the Nelson Mandela Foundation and being involved in various awareness campaigns.

Given that their characters share a few interesting parallels Govender answers a number of the same questions that Breytenbach did, with a few that are unique to Ravi himself.


An arranged marriage is the biggest barrier that Ravi faces in his relationship with Jeanette. How would you say he views that tradition and what it means for his future?

I think he respects it and accepts it. He was brought up in a traditional Indian family and those are Indian traditions. However, when he gets to meet his arranged wife he realises that he doesn’t have much in common with her. That’s when he meets Jeanette and falls madly in love. He knows that he shouldn’t be pursuing a relationship with her because it’s illegal during that time for inter-racial relationships. However, he can’t help himself and that results in detrimental consequences.

ravisister

Ravi makes it clear that he’s concerned about his sister’s safety, but what does he ultimately think about what his family does under cover of darkness?

He understands that they are doing it for a greater cause and he respects that. However, he does care deeply for them and doesn’t want anything to happen to them when they go on these missions. He’s close to his family and wants to protect them.

From what I can tell this is your first role in a feature film. How was that experience, especially with it being a South African production instead of a big Hollywood movie?

It was an incredible experience. I got the opportunity to work with some really talented South African actors. I learnt a lot by being on set and having these actors mentor me throughout the filming process.

Our director Sallas de Jager was also really supportive and helped me to give the best performance I could. Even though this was a South African film, the production standards on the movie were really high. That can be attested to with all the international awards that the movie has won. I really hope that I will have the opportunity to work on more films both in South Africa and Hollywood. Acting is really something that I enjoy immensely.

How much did you know about South Africa’s Immorality Acts before signing on to this film?

Not a lot. I grew up post Apartheid, so most of what I knew was from what I heard, not what I could have experienced. It was quite eyeopening to learn more about that time in South Africa’s history and how Indian people were treated. I gathered as much information as I could from my parents about their experiences during that time. I also was really fortunate that my acting teacher had been in an inter-racial relationship and she was able to help me understand my character better.

meditation

Religion plays a large part in Free State for both Ravi and Jeanette’s families. Did you come from a religious background, and did this have any affect on how you played the role?

Yes, I did. I grew up in a conservative traditional Indian family so religion was important to us. My character was also brought up with the same core values and so religion would have been important to him too. There’s a scene in the movie where my character meditates and also seeks relationship advice from a guru. So we are aware that he relies on religion to guide him in the choices that he makes.

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Free State of Mind: Actress Nicola Breytenbach on Getting in Character

Free-State-Updated-PosterThis is the second installment of “Free State of Mind”, a series of Q&As with the cast and crew of a South African film currently making the rounds at film festivals. You can read my review here, and find out more about its creation from producer Terwadkar Rajiv here.

Today’s interview is with Nicola Breytenbach, who plays Jeanette, one of the two romantic leads. While she has spent the past several years as a successful model, with her career taking her to runways across the world, Free State marks the beginning of her acting career. Just last month The Blue Mauritius began filming in Montreal, with the US and German co-production being her second ever silver screen role.


Jeanette is first introduced returning home to her father after finishing law school. While it isn’t heavily covered in the film, what kind of impact do you think that education had on how she views life, especially after she meets with Ravi [co-lead and love interest]? 

As Jeanette went to Wits University, which was a more liberal university than many others, it would have changed the way she viewed and felt about apartheid and the immorality act. She pursued higher education as it was instilled upon her by Maria and her father, but her true desire was to be a wife and mother.

Jeanette was raised in the very small remote town of Memel and even though it was a Christian white community it was very sheltered, and as she says in the beginning of the film that’s why she was a real ‘political innocent’. She wasn’t exposed to the reality of it much, except for a few remote incidents which completely shocked her. As her mother also passed away at such a young age and her father had a difficult time reaching out to her because of his grief, she was raised almost solely by Maria who is black South African Zulu.

Hence when she met Ravi, she didn’t think about his race and it didn’t deter her from seeing a friendly man who went out of his way to help her in this traumatic incident of a near accident. She only saw his compassion and how selflessly he had helped her. As time goes on, they both come to the realize the severity of the situation they are in, as well as the fact that they are engaged to others, but at this point it is too late, they have already fallen in love. Continue reading

Free State: A Film Review

Free-State-Updated-PosterA film covering “a pair of star-cross’d lovers” is certainly nothing new, and for centuries creators have strived to honour the trope by putting their own distinct spin on it. As a film by South Africans set in their very own country Free State sets itself apart from the crowd at its outset, in particular because it neglects the assumed Black and White mixed couple [and all of the baggage that comes with it] in favour of an Afrikaans woman and an Indian man.

Jeanette, South African model Nicola Breytenbach’s first role, is a law student in the mid-70s returning home to Memel and her father. Ravi, played by Andrew Govender, another model, is a man whose family is currently working out the specifics of his upcoming arranged marriage.

The reason they can never be together is spelled out in the first few minutes of the film in which Jeanette, describing her childhood, relates the story of a man arrested for being Indian in the Free State province after dark. She also shares the details of South Africa’s Immorality Acts that she learned about while in school, which explicitly prohibit sexual intercourse between White and non-White people. It’s racism, plain and simple, and while not the freshest romantic deterrent it’s nonetheless framed in way most viewers won’t be familiar with. Continue reading

2 Broke Girls, S4E20 “And the Minor Problem”: A TV Review

2brokegirlsminorproblem

I like DC Pierson. He’s one of the members of Derrick Comedy, a YouTube comedy group that featured the now relatively famous Donald Glover, AKA Troy from Community, AKA Childish Gambino. He actually appeared in a few episodes of the former-NBC-sitcom, and it saddens me to see him again here. Mostly because he doesn’t do anything of note.

No, DC Pierson merely serves as yet another eccentric diner customer, and one who doesn’t contribute to the overall plot at all. As far as I can tell, anyway. He plays “a legit psychic” who doesn’t tip Max but does end up reading Caroline’s palm where he initially sees two M’s and then “a small failure”. What could those letters represent? She comes up with “male”, “model”, “making (it with)”, and “Max”. That’s all pretty relevant to the happenings in this episode, except that she misses out on one key word: “Mother”.

[I’d just like to very quickly mention that Pierson has his own Wikipedia page, so who am I to criticize, really {and I mean that sincerely}] Continue reading

2 Broke Girls, S4E19 “And the Look of The Irish”: A TV Review

lookoftheirish

I was going to start this review off by wasting a paragraph on how neat it would be to eat at the Williamsburg Diner, what with its eccentric clientele and all, but instead let’s dive directly into the latest 2 Broke Girls character to rake in the site hits: Nashit. What do we know about him? He’s a poor Irish immigrant, apparently half-Indian [uh huh…], and he has sex with Max. I could go on, but his entry on the 2 Broke Girls wiki [at the time of this writing] sums him up pretty well:

tba

Yup. At this point in time Nashit’s undisclosed middle and last names could be “Tabula” and “Rasa”, because there’s really not much there at the moment. As mentioned in my review of the episode introducing him, Nashit didn’t have that much say in his relationship with one half of the titular duo. Max wants him and he more or less responds with an “okay”. He clearly doesn’t mind being with her, but it’s really hard to ascertain how much he actually likes her. Also, and this is important to mention, he has very few lines. It’s hard for a character to be well-rounded if you barely let them speak.

In this week’s episode Max decides that she’s been seeing altogether too much of her boy toy, and does what she can to get him out of the diner so that they’re not hitting the interaction trifecta [working, living, and sleeping together]. His new career path is chosen for him once he very ineptly handles Han’s gift to him [for being an employee who actually works hard], the Spritzy 5000. There’s more of that at the bottom of this post, so stay tuned. Short story shorter, he sprays himself and it turns out he’s hot.

The two girls teach him how to model, specifically for a Cocoa Puffs commercial. That’s fairly uneventful. At first he is terrible at it. Like really, really bad. Then we come back after a commercial break and he is good at modelling and all that. But it turns out that “Cocoa Puffs” is code for “pornography”! They’re at an audition for a porn movie! Specifically Sorest Rump!

At this point we get a little more of Nashit’s personality, specifically that he would do anything for Max, even “gay for pay”. Actually it’s never revealed if he understands what that really means, but at the very least he would be willing to make porn for his girlfriend, if we can call her that. It’s sweet, I guess. It’s not the best character work by any means because it’s really still just Nashit doing what Max wants. He knows that she wants him to do this [even if he doesn’t realize it’s to get him out of the diner], so he also wants to do it. Next week is, ostensibly, his last episode, and I really hope he gets to be a little more of a pretty face before his inevitable exit.

Elsewhere Oleg and Sophie practice celibacy before the wedding because it’s what her grandmother would’ve wanted. That doesn’t last for long, though Oleg does get a few great lines out of it. Joedth is looking for love after her junkie ex left the picture. Big Mary/John is beginning to get on my bad side because he only has one line and it obviously has to do with gay sex, which is his shtick now I guess. You’re more than that Big Mary/John, I know you are.

Oh, before we get to Stray Observations I should share one of Austin Falk’s tweets that provides a behind the scenes look at how this episode was filmed:

Current Total: $711.

New Total: $1,211. Last week they made $425, so with only $75 more this week I guess they’re being somewhat consistent. Again, I’ll just chalk this up to their combined three jobs.

The Title Refers To: A play on words that I actually really like! It refers to Nashit being Irish, him being good looking, and even sounds like someone with a terrible accent [see: Nashit] saying “the luck of the Irish”! This is the best title the show has ever had.

Stray Observations:

  • “Sad Ladies Book Club is reading 50 Shades of Grey again. There’s not a dry seat in the house.”
  • “Apparently the something blue at the wedding has to be my balls.”
  • “I feel like a bull in a vagina shop.”
  • “Move to call a moratorium on the words “grab”, “squeeze”, and “spray” until after the wedding-“
  • Something something what you say to get lesbians to exit a building: “There’s a Subaru outside that’s about to get a ticket.”
  • Joedth was using a dating app/site called “Lez Meet Up”.
  • “I had the decorator redo it nine times. You can feel his anger in the walls. It’s electric.”
  • “You’re eating is so punk rock. Tell me everything right now.”
  • 2 Broke Girls Cheesecake/Beefecake Menu: You’re welcome.

nashit1 nashit2 nashit3

The Stupid Stops Here

Life is a lot like a dairy pasture, in that you can’t get from one side to the other without wading through some serious bull****.

Existence is full of little irrationalities and absurdities, and we’ve got to be able to shrug them off if we’re going to maintain any sanity. That said, every once in a while we’re going to come across a steaming load of stupidity too gigantic to ignore.

Let me show you what I’m talking about:

This “12-Week” Fetus Model

I’ve probably got as many conservative friends on Facebook as I do liberal and leftist (liberal and leftist being two separate categories), so every once in a while I’ll catch something on my news-feed mocking the president, or gun control, or over-regulation. And I don’t have any issue with that. What I do take issue with is what popped onto my screen yesterday morning:

This photo claims that this is what a 12-week fetus looks like.

Let me be clear as possible.

No, it ****ing doesn’t. Continue reading

Fame Day: Carly Fleischmann, Giving a Voice to Autism

This is Carly Fleischmann:

carly

According to an article written by her father, Arthur Fleischmann, Carly was diagnosed with autism, developmental delay, and oral-motor apraxia (“a neurological condition preventing speech”) by the time she was two-years-old. Carly underwent years of therapy, which eventually allowed her to walk, stand, and feed herself. Unfortunately, Carly showed no hope of ever being able to communicate. In fact, her behaviour made it seem as though Carly would have nothing to communicate even if she could express herself:

“Carly went to therapy sessions, bleated, screamed and never ever stopped moving. Her actions were feral and, if not tightly monitored, destructive. Left unattended, she emptied containers of baby powder, smeared peanut butter on the furniture and overflowed bathtubs. One evening she slipped out of the house at dusk and crossed four city blocks before we found her stripped naked at her favourite park.”

Then, one day, something changed. Carly spoke. Just not in the way you might expect. The video below reveals how Carly turned to typing in order to express the feelings she could not communicate verbally.

Continue reading