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Claire Angelique, Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year for Film 2010, screens her Jhb premiere of her new feature film PALACE OF BONE on FRIDAY 5 AUGUST 7PM at the BIOSCOPE INDEPENDENT CINEMA, 6 FOX STREET (MAIN STREET LIFE)  which showed to rave reviews at the recent National Arts Festival, Grahamstown 2011.

PALACE of BONE, is the documentation over a couple of months of the strangely unstable day to day life of Faith – a scarred but brazen and quirky twenty five year old.

Filmed entirely on cellular phones by her devoted best friend, the enigmatic Po, (who is rarely seen in front of the camera except in reflections, turning her back to Mecca…), we are allowed a voyeuristic peek into their friend’s squats, downtown bars and are privy to bedroom confessions. That is all until we realise that the ominous sequence of Faith’s actions due to likely severe psychological problems have forced Faith to escape the city and take to the hills.   

What we as an audience get to experience is Po’s last days with her comrade in the Palace of Bone; a euphemism for both the backstreets, backrooms and backdoors of the city of Durban and the cache of queer insights and outlooks of Faith, a girl who feels she is bigger than her world and thus has some rather unorthodox answers to curb her frustration.

The film ends with us only sort of certain that Faith was last seen on August 15 2008, smoking a joint beside rusty train tracks north of Botha’s Hill. What we are certain of is that there are six dead bodies in Durban harbour….

The film will be introduced by Claire Angelique who will be available to answer questions after the screening

”After the intensity and catharsis of  My Black Little Heart, her new film Palace of Bone is a step away from savagely personal. In fact it’s anything but autobiographical. Still, Angelique’s trademark dark, beautiful imagery pervades, as do the thematic obsessions with the underbelly and the underdog.’‘  – Cue

“To be assaulted by a South African film made by a young Durban girl which is totally original and unique and which is made with a total respect and understanding of film language is very rare, She is one the best that we have in South Africa, and her talent should not be ignored.”

-Trevor Steele Taylor, film curator National Arts Festival, Grahamstown

‘’Claire Angelique’s extraordinary Palace of Bone will undoubtedly create a far-reaching impact. Although it is an unconventional film, it is rooted in mainstream popular culture. In particular reality television and the technological devices that have engendered a culture of (self) documentation. Angelique enjoys blurring the lines between fact and fiction, so the reality/documentary mode suits her aesthetic well…. In a way Palace of Bone is a twisted whodunit. But there are so many levels of meaning in this fascinating mockumentary.’’ Mary Corrigall – The Sunday Independent









Remember the night the city burned down. We were trapped in back streets charred, under the influence, faking smiles, the dude in the blue beanie had been sitting in the doorway of the Edgars store since early this morning, he had no ears but rapt attention. There was a group of us, five if I remember correctly, five of us who entered through the makeshift cinema at the Point and took advantage of the confusion. Breaking into modern day refurbished, city ‘rejuvenated ‘projects, mansions of cool, déclassé and worthlessness rolled into a corporate structure. We stole whilst we waded through the waters the foam of the fire fighters. Shannon screamed directions whilst we each took a room, looting and laughing, but that all ended years ago. we have had to grow up. No longer are we guaranteed good press for our sins. Straight and secular is the answer. No life for no lifers or something similar to the Nazi refrain. I’ve sunk all my senses into the new project, battling malaise, inertia, no home cept the lonely depths of mornings sans sunlight. In a room without curtains, they watch me, I’ve seen them. Sometimes I perform for their pleasure, boredom has that great a grip. And eruptions are no longer skin deep. They say    the body holds memories I say slay the body, pray to Harlequin for the rent and pull the tooth. The toothless are wonders that defy the well dressed charlatans that parade the inner city sanctum. I profess the unconscious call at my own demise. They want the film, they don’t want the film. I can make the film, I cannot make films. Reflections in the pink wine of an afternoon and my animas a rare bird stuck in her majesty’s jail. We lose our friends as we lose our memories regain them, have a tequila, figure the morning out. Drench it in sherry and good tidings, good mornings, good nights. The good fight. I listen to symphony I can’t listen to these imbeciles who carry some strange sense of entitlement of good grace, good manners, deportment, ethics…ha, who really knew the little fish girl, who swam with her before she sunk to those gorgeous grips where icy waves became sacred shrouds and failing that superficial glance of heaven fell in love with the oceans dark deep seductive force. Gravity will always win, you have to go down to get up. Fresh eyes are tired, me feels when stationed in their back room, begging infantile demands for that’s what makes a director in their world…a dumb distorted place…it wasn’t what we were looking for they lied, they cannot see so how can they even attempt to pry..and I’ll tell you why because of press because of awards and prowess and like the big independent screen available to all and sundry who care to pay the price they’ll provide shelter…temporarily but then what…oh more mortgage to the soul, more filters, more sanity..yes we are frozen beyond their clutches and I’ll defy god dammit I’ll demand a little bit more..the kid, the tramp the wanderer, the gypsy..taciturn eyes, garters down, petticoats up, more beef than brawn, more nuptials shredded via shredded paper, the age of letters is dead. So in this manic mania we steal, we fight. Temper tantrums, Oedipus and Faust come knocking at the door whilst skin must be clean, the plague on the pavements swept up and the age of wooden sculptures burnt by the fires of the homeless, the weak, the powerful, the cold, the icy cold that will not let up and will not let us sleep this sweet and airy night










grey afternoons are best

The characters of 888 are dexterous thieves let loose in world negation. They are recidivists concerned with the journey and not the goal. For the outcomes are the deep thoughts in the mind late in the evening and per chance on waking, the questions and fear of meaning and explanation of existence where no human has been given a trophy for calculating the cost and return of the antidote.

888 is a neutral equation. It exists on all levels by either a wrong or a right, a black or a white, a real or an unreal, a boy or a girl, an abortion or a birth, a drug or an abstinence, good or evil, pride or humility, flattery or detraction, beauty or vulgarity, haste or repose, kill or be killed.

I really like symbolism in any kind of art form and the vice and tricks which can be conjured by its implementation. Dualism, illusions and disorder. Superimposed images, one dimensional receptors creating multiple worlds of colours and images…. Sound………..Iconic storage, sensory confusions of the mind and eye, extrasensory perceptions.

One of my first kind of personal enlightenments came from seeing the Danish psychologist Edgar Rubin’s reversible goblet, the classic demonstration of figure – ground reversal whereby its appearance alternated between a goblet and a pair of facial profiles in silouette. From then I sought out the Freemish Crate, the impossible figure that could be drawn but that could not exist, the Margaret Thatcher illusion – the inverted face that appears normal but is hideously grotesque when reversed the right way (no puns intended), and then of course, amongst a multitude of others the famous ambiguous portrait of the young girl/old woman.

888 exists in an uncanny mindmap and landmind where all is not what it appears to be and to physically and visually manifest this on the screen in image manipulation. Not by the use of CG but by the more traditional crafts  of cinema aided by visual artists already working within the confusion of visual spectrum domains.

I would like to employ the work for instance of Julian Beever, a UK street artist, to be part of production and set design, working with the medium of chalk, creating optical 3-D illusions to bring images to life. Whereby the audience viewing a scene would assume a structure or prop is 3 dimensional but in the next shot seen from a different angle it would be revealed that it is merely a drawing on a flat plane. Using different angles, a false sense of depth and proportion to add visual disruption which translates so well within the ‘hereafter’ segments of the film. Similiar associations and themes can be found in Vertov’s The Man With The Movie Camera, to continually destroy the spectators sense of equilibrium and to subvert the experience which would translate beautifully with the suject matter that this film allows by its constant submersion into illusion and fantasy.

The repetitions of locations and their physical construction and reconstruction is a narrative tool which i employed whilst writing the film. Travelling through Berlin, 2 years ago, I was fascinated by the massive scale of new structures around the city and the use of skyscraper high visuals of what these potential buildings would look like completed – incorporating  much detail. So a true to life size picture of a church could be seen from the street but behind it would be a construction site. This fuelled much of the imagery in 888. The states of a false paradise, the levels of spectacle that 8 must travel through in death to find the truth are stronger when supported by sets which are in transformation themselves.

The quantum physics undertone to the script supports the ‘multi universe’ theory on screen, since we do only exist in 10% of what the universe is made of, the rest is duh dark matter. The reality and plausibility factor of 8’s journey could be supported by the explanation – storage of memory in sub atomic particles. A good example of this in 888 is the shooting up of the aborted fetus scenes. The sub atomic particles were perhaps able to retain information of possible future existences and were able to report back. Perhaps shooting up the fetus (Michelle) made it possible to even convey a message

before the shooting up occurred, so long as is did occur at some point. This makes possibly a weird and powerful statement: abortions may occur because the future entity (including all its sub atomic parts) decided it, not the mother. Remember the collective consciousness in the USA as the Supreme Court looked well on its way to over turn the abortion laws (Roe vs. Wade), at some point in the future.

The story is one whose framework borrows from Platonism, neo Platonism as well as Socrates and is highly influenced by Dante Alighieri and Artaud’s Cinema of Cruelty, negotiating between reality and surreality not only of subject matter but of the cinematic form itself. . The dialogue is filled with quotations both in and out of context from The Koran, The Torah and The Bible with intersections of script from ancient Egyptian papyri of the Book of the Dead, which the manic and pyschotic 88 uses to justify his obscene actions and protestations of divinity.

Submerged in the current climate,  I feel I touched the surface in the screenplay and execution of My Black Little Heart utilising a small town and its inhabitants as a metaphor for larger commentary on contemporary South African issues however my vision is broader and more universal in 888. Firstly Africa does not come into the content or question other than the geography of Egypt. However Egypt in my minds eye is more readily associated with the middle East thus the use of Islam and Judaism. The Chrisitan component is in this case more affiliated with the West ie. America as well as the employment of the celebrity and occult agendas. Conservatism in all three of these major religeons is under the microscope. How do these moral and ethical issues such as homosexuality and abortion survive and exist in a modern context? What are the new mass religeons? Well it appears to be that of fame and celebrity and the occult. We as a planet, as a body of conciousness are in constant conflict with our belief systems and yet it is the final frontier which would unite rather than destroy us. Morals can be complicated. The ssues that are seen as important can also vary from time to time and place to place. This would be a very different film if it was set in 1856. I have attempted an aggressive, ardent, zealous and theatrical premis to explore a multitude of relationships between mother and child, light and dark, self destruction and self preservation, middle east and west, right and left.

Characters whose hypocrisy masks intimate insecurities, scenarios where the violence of silence and the violence of speech are both balanced and impossible and trust the power of visuals and sound to suggest the change of equilibrium and the ultimate fear of death itself. Sound design would need to include binaural beats to alter audience mind states.

For me, 888, is a sexual thriller, the drama existing on a spiritual plane and unfolds via mythological reference and imaginative speculation. A modern day myth illuminating moral implications of the human experience and the sacramental visions of both reality and its hell.


revived and slightly more on the determined side, back from the grahamstown festival. Its strange how you can lose the spark the beezlejuice and then miraculously from a small walk under some lonely winter trees, a cold wind in the retina and a new brown hat remember a part of you that was once so single minded in proving something, saying something. I feel like I’ve been sitting on the chair for years, watching the backroads change from shadows to shelters to hostiles to statues./ I think I became a statue. Its quite easy in a way, you just sit very still, not saying a word, not engaging in fights, not embracing, not telling or being told. I wandered down on Saturday and saw nikhil coming up the road, just he and I old friends bonded by magic and spider monkeys and the melancholy and it felt good, it felt good too after the screenings to talk to those who felt something from the film, it made me feel something again, something alien, something alchemic, something that needed me to make more, take out the dentures and euthanise the black rat up my back. Try harder, pull the shackles of complacency and disinterest away throw them back at the wolves, switch back on the phone, wash my fingernails. Eat my daily bread, say a little prayer for all the little angels with all the big black hearts. The main direction now is to get Anthony, lars, nina, somebody, kasper anybody to steal a copyo f the film on beta so we have a film that is screenable and then to tamper away at a film print behind the shotguns back. I know I can write again, I know I can refine again, I know I can get it together and make another mountain. I’ve been busy tinkering away at a film with high hopes that it will come together. It involves kids and drugs and sex and aids and shopping mall parking lots and teachers threats and tow truck drivers getting head. We await the funding we wait a little longer, I am patient, I am a patient that’s sick for her meds but I can wait, the potions are in motion and I have the special xhosa clay statues that are thrown where nobody dares to roam cept i. Actually I was very ill, and in retrospect it felt good, it felt good because it was a real ill, a real sickness, a natural Achilles heal ed from vitamin c and the damage was not as precious as I once thought. The sun is up burning my eyes and the folders lying on the desk full of surmise. I’m supposed to go to a screening of a really horrible film with local celebs and this guy from prison break in tonight but thems the choices I have to start making. To go and swindle and talk up a storm to potential financiers of potential projects or sit on the chair and take in the stream. Do you ever feel that there are cameras everywhere. Do you ever feel that you’d like them there? I do. Doobie doo I do. So just for this morning all is right, just for this morning my pen will write, the wrongs will be kept for later tonight


Everyone had left. This fucking place felt like an abandoned aircraft after a turbulent landing. The silence of routine was a stench that got up my nose, up my legs into my blood. It scared me that I was living off this shit. That this was my life-force – this banality – emptiness – hard crack resilient shell – and had I tried. Had I pushed and poked and broke. Had I broken? Neville was complaining and agreeing. I couldn’t understand a fucking word he was saying. He shrunk of piss. The road stunk of piss. A long building – another inconsequential structure. Some imbeciles in a car. Black like spilt oil were laughing. I was trying to look at something – anything. There is nothing to look at here. There is constant banging and drilling. And only one that is good. They are installing lights to ruin my shadow, my lost friends.

Is it so hard to even minimize the building blocks I had swallowed and given back to you? Would it take an apology – a confession or just dismissal of reason – where it’s not reticent or ridicule? But a plain and simple point of view. Is your unaware a mystery or another carbon copy sheet – when I prophesize do you fantasize – is there any feeling in your head.

Let’s strip away these mannerisms. I was walking slowly I thought. I had been thinking far too long. Or not thinking. It’s a ménage a trios. Lets have a manage a trios. I was not walking, I was battling. Walk was a by-product. It was the mechanical action stemmed by this mental pace. It was lyrical. I am not lyrical. I am shining. Let’s just be shining. Come on lets.

He was not talking. A condition of commitment. I can’t seem to arise out of this bubble. This superficial carnage. My last sentence is slurry. It’s a self-dismissal mess. I saw your ears turn red as you never missed what I said. Why are these girls dancing on the table? What planet are they from. A gay bar is mentioned. We leave. There’s a cab. Twenty thousand photographs are constantly recorded. He is tired – he said. i just knew we were going to go to bed