The rise of the drive-in cinemas

drive-in cinemas

Remember the days of bundling into the backseat to make your way to the drive-in cinema?  Or, meeting friends to watch the latest movie, with popcorn and a drink too large? These seem to be distant memories for most of us now. While the reopening of cinemas in South Africa is now allowed, these spaces will not be back to ‘business as usual’ for a while. Cinemas need to open in compliance with measures to combat the spread of COVID-19.

What does this mean? To comply with social distancing protocols, cinemas will only allow 50 people or less in at one time. There are also limitations on operating hours, service, and contact. For places such as Ster-Kinekor, limiting contact is easy, with movies tickets and snacks being available for purchase through their app or website. But for smaller, private cinemas this can be tricky.

If the idea of being in a cinema with 49 other people still makes you nervous, we may have the answer to your movie cravings. It seems that the pandemic has seen a rise in the return of the drive-in cinema. Now there’s a distant, and fond, memory.

Drive-in cinemas around the world

It makes sense that as the pandemic continues and moviegoers are hesitant to venture out, that cinemas will see a decline in attendance. In contrast, drive-in or open-air cinemas may see an increase in popularity.

Here are just three examples of the return of the drive-in cinema.

Galileo Open Air Cinema

drive-in cinemas

Already bringing cinema to the outdoors, Galileo holds open-air cinema options throughout South Africa, in beautiful settings too. But now they are offering a drive-in cinema experience to keep things COVID-friendly. You can buy tickets and food online, and when you arrive, you park, cuddle and enjoy the film from the comfort of your own car.

Walmart Pop-up Drive-in Cinemas

drive-in cinemas

For the summer, Walmart will transform 160 parking lots into drive-in cinemas. The movies featured will be programmed by Tribeca Enterprises, which also brings music and sporting events to other drive-ins throughout the US. Walmart will also offer concessions that are ordered online for curbside pick-up ahead of the movie screening.

Floating Cinema in Paris

drive-in cinemas

Okay, so this one was just a one-off but is still worth mentioning. The city of Paris made a big event out of the announcement that cinemas were reopening. They arranged an organised screening of the French movie ‘Le grand bain’ on the banks of the Seine. Moviegoers attended on boats and deck chairs on the bank of the river. Now that’s style.

With many movie-lovers still quite apprehensive at the thought of going back into the cinemas, we hope to see many more open-air or drive-in cinema options open throughout South Africa over the summer. We are desperate to have our favourite past-time back, in one form or another.

Enjoy our other blogs about cinema, movies and retro vibes from Retro Afrika Bioscope.

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International Women’s Month: Quotable Quotes by Famous Women in Film

In honour of women in film, we have compiled a list of famous quotes by these elegant, beautiful and talented women. So sit back, relax and enjoy the trip down memory lane.

Practical Magic [1998]

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Nicole Kidman as ‘Gillian Owens’ in Practical Magic

Midnight in Paris [2011]

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Marion Cotillard as ‘Adriana’ in Midnight in Paris

The Color Purple [1985]

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Whoopi Goldberg as ‘Celia’ in The Color Purple

Pretty Woman [1990]

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Julia Roberts as ‘Vivian’ in Pretty Woman

My Big Fat Greek Wedding [2002]

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Nia Vardalos as ‘Toula Portokalos’ and Lainie Kazan as ‘Maria Portokalos’ in My Big Fat Greek Wedding

The Help [2011]

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Viola Davis as ‘Aibileen Clarke’ in The Help

Before Sunset [2004]

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Julie Delpi as ‘Celine’ in Before Sunset

Sex and the City [1998]

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Kim Cattrall as ‘Samantha Jones’ in Sex and the City

And finally, this quote might not be from a particular movie but it sure is worth adding and very true!!! Marilyn was the pure embodiment of female strength, beauty and empowerment. And even though she was not always well behaved in her short but fulfilling life, she definitely made history!!! Happy Women’s Month to all the wonderful women in the world that are making a difference.

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Bringing Lost African Gems Straight to your Living Room on Mzansi Bioskop

Gravel Road Entertainment Group’s Retro Afrika Bioscope and Mzansi Bioskop have teamed up to bring you a starlit line up of lost and forgotten South African films. Over the next couple of months, you can tune in every Sunday at 8pm to DSTV Channel 164, Mzansi Bioskop to feast your eyes on some of the most authentically South African films that were produced in the ’70s and ’80s. These films showcase all-African casts and in a number of local languages with English subtitles.

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“Umbango” will have it’s first-ever TV premiere this coming Sunday. The film was produced and directed by Tonie van der Merwe, starring Popo Gumede, Hector Mathanda and Kay Magubane and is arguably one of the first all African cast isiZulu Westerns. The film was digitally restored by Gravel Road Entertainment Group and was, together with the film Joe Bullet, an official selection in the Forum section at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2015. Both films had sell-out audiences at the festival. “As the first producer and director of an African language film, it gives me great pride to finally get some recognition for our contribution to the South African film industry. I am proud of what we have achieved and it’s a great honour and privilege to experience this moment. It’s a shame that most of these actors such as Ken Gampu, Joe Lopez and Hector Mathanda cannot be here today to see these films on TV. Thank you again to all the actors and my colleges. I salute you!!” says Tonie van der Merwe.

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About “Umbango”

When Kay Kay, a powerful, ruthless businessman sets out on a mission of revenge against two men accused of killing his brother, he strong-arms the local sheriff into forming a posse of thugs to aid in his vendetta. But when Jet and Owen, the two easy going friends, learn of the gang out for their blood, they prepare to stand their ground and fight back. It all comes to a head in a final gun-fight, a showdown in the small western town where blood will have to be split if the friends wish to come out of this alive.

Retro Afrika Bioscope is Gravel Road Entertainment Group’s speciality release label for classic retro African content. In 2013, Gravel Road launched an initiative to locate, digitally restore and re-release films produced for the oppressed majority (African) audiences in the ’70s and ’80s under the old South African film subsidy schemes. All films being released by Retro Afrika Bioscope undergo a highly specialized digital restoration process.

The line-up of films for the month of July includes Abathumbi (Starring: Innocent Gumede and Khulekani Magubane), Zero for Zep (Starring: So Mhlanga and Khulekani Magubane), Umgulukudu (Starring: Roy Dlamini and Mandla Ngoya) and Thunder Valley (Starring: Roy Dlamini and Mandla Ngoya).

More information on these films are available on:
Facebook
YouTube Channel

Tonie van der Merwe receives a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 11th Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) in Port Elizabeth.

Cape Town – Tonie van der Merwe, once dubbed the father of the “black” film industry in South Africa, received the Life Time Achievement award last week at the Africa Movie Academy Awards in Port Elizabeth. Mr. van der Merwe created some 400 films in the 1970s and ’80s, including“Joe Bullet,” one of the country’s first all-black cast film.

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His movies launched the careers of many African actors and nurtured a generation of African film technicians and production hands. The majority of his films were distributed by means of an informal rural distribution network, reaching audiences estimated at in excess of hundreds of thousands.

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In 1973, the South African film Joe Bullet was banned by the apartheid government after its second screening at the Eyethu Cinema in Soweto. Though the ban was later lifted, producers never pursued another release until 2013.

The film premiered at the 2014 Durban International Film Festival. It also featured at the To Save and Project Film Preservation Festival in New York in November 2014. It was then screened at the Carthage International Film Festival in Tunisia, after which it travelled to Germany for the 65th Berlinale Film Festival in February 2015.

Established in 2005, AMAA aims to facilitate the development and relevance of African film & cinema by providing a rewards & recognition platform for filmmakers on the continent. African filmmakers work hard with very little and have, not through serendipity but through sheer audacity, managed to build the 3rd largest film industry in the world, and are poised to take poll position, beating America and India.

Today, African films serve as a link for Africans in the Diaspora with Africans at home. These films have the potential to serve as a shared collective experience, a reminder that Africa is a vibrant continent filled with colour, energy and possibility.

Tonie, on receiving his award, “I’ve had a good inning as a filmmaker and it’s probably time to pack away the cameras and lights, but I want to make one last film with an African producer. Hopefully in the near future.”

Content inspired by:

Screen Africa article 14th October 2014

AMAA website

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What Was Happening When

Rich Girl Stills

1980 – Rich Girl

+ 25 Jan Three Umkhonto we Sizwe terrorists kill two civilians and hold the staff and customers in a bank in Silverton in Pretoria hostage. The siege ends in a shoot-out with the police in which all three terrorists are killed

+ 26 March A mine lift cage at the Vaal Reefs gold mine in South Africa falls 1.9 kilometres (1.2 miles), killing 23

+ 12 March In Pretoria nine people are sentenced to five years imprisonment for training as guerrillas outside South Africa and recruiting others to undergo training

+ 4 April Umkhonto we Sizwe attacks the Booysens Police Station in Johannesburg with grenades, rocket launchers and AK47s

+ 21 April More than sixty coloured high schools, teacher training colleges and the University of the Western Cape start boycotting classes

+ 29 April In Johannesburg hundreds of coloured school children are arrested in terms of the Riotous Assemblies Act during a student-police confrontation

+ 1 June Bombs explode at Sasol One and Two and Natref Eight at Sasolburg and Secunda, with no injuries and RM58 damage. The attack was organised by Solomon Mahlangu of the Umkhonto weSizwe Special Operations

+ 29 Oct Umkhonto we Sizwe insurgents throw two grenades into the government buildings of the West Rand Administration Board and injure a security guard and his friend.

Rich Girl Stills

Rich Girl Stills

Rich Girl Stills

Rich Girl Stills

What Was Happening When

Hostage Waterfront Film Studios

1980 – Hostage 

+ Jan 14 The local community at Soekmekaar resists forced removal and damages the police station.

+ Jan 25 Three Umkhonto we Sizwe terrorists, Stephen Mafoko, Humphrey Makhubo and Wilfred Madela, kill two civilians and hold the staff and customers in a bank in Silverton in Pretoria hostage. The siege ends in a shoot-out with the police in which all three terrorists are killed.

+ March 12 In Pretoria nine people are sentenced to five to seven years imprisonment for training as guerrillas outside South Africa and recruiting others to undergo training.

+ March 26 A mine lift cage at the Vaal Reefs gold mine in South Africa falls 1.9 kilometres (1.2 miles), killing 23.

+ April 4 Umkhonto we Sizwe attacks the Booysens Police Station in Johannesburg with grenades, rocket launchers and AK47s.

+ April 21 More than sixty coloured high schools, teacher training colleges and the University of the Western Cape start boycotting classes.

+ Oct 14 The Soweto community calls for a stayaway to protest against rent increases.

+ Oct 15 A bomb damages a railway line in Dube, Soweto and Piet Koornhof, minister of co-operation and development, visits the scene.

+ Nov 21 A terrorist is killed in Chiawelo and a child is injured by police in the process.

What Was Happening When

Umbango

The RetroAfrika “What Was Happening When” series is now in its 7th week! Here’s this week’s instalment – what was happening in South Africa when “Umbango” was produced.

1986 – Umbango

+ 7 Jan  A grenade is thrown at a Railways policeman in Soweto.

+ 8 Jan  A Pretoria sub-station is damaged by an explosion.

+ 9 Jan  A limpet mine explodes at 21h15 and damages a substation in Jacobs, Durban. Later a second limpet explodes, killing a policeman and injuring other policemen and two electrical workers who arrive at the scene.

+ 4 Feb Four South African Army soldiers are injured when a cadre throws a grenade into their military vehicle at Gugulethu.

+ 9 Feb A limpet mine destroys two police vehicles at Umlazi police station near Durban when parked after returning from riot patrol.

+ 21 March Four mines explode at an Escom sub-station in Durban.

+ 8 April The home of the former Labour Party secretary in Natal, Kevin Leaf, is attacked.

+ 12 June The Government declares a nationwide state of emergency.

+ 1 July An explosion outside the Carlton Hotel in Johannesburg injures eight civilians.

+ 15 August Trevor Manuel is detained for the second time, this time only to be released in 1988.

+ 4 November A landmine kills a soldier on horseback in the eastern Transvaal.

+ 19 Dec A grenade attack is executed on the home of a Soweto councillor and two policemen are injured.

What Was Happening When

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1987 – Ezintandaneni 

+ 1 Jan  South African Defence Force servicemen are attacked in Alexandra, Johannesburg and at least one is injured

+ 9 Jan Police raid English-language newspapers, seizing documents related to an advertisement calling for the legalising of the African National Congress

+ 2 Feb The single quarters of the Bokomo Police Station is attacked twice with grenades and one policeman is injured

+ 18 Feb A number of people are killed in a grenade attack on Tladi Secondary School

+ 12 March  Sweden announces a total boycott on trade with South Africa, effective from October

+ 20 July  A car bomb explodes outside a block of flats in District Six, Cape Town, with no injuries

+ 30 July A car bomb explodes outside the Witwatersrand Command and kills one soldier and injures 68 people

+ 3 August 23 conscripts publicly announce in Cape Town that they refuse to serve in the SADF

+ 23 August A shop in Emdeni, frequented by soldiers, is attacked with grenades

+ 28 November South African Airways Flight 295 crashes into the Indian Ocean near Mauritius due to a fire in the cargo hold, killing 159 passengers and crew

+ 10 December During a police raid on a shack in the Port Elizabeth area, they meet heavy resistance from the residents. The police drive a Casspir over the shack, killing four