Doccie on SA music legend

James Phillips performing in Johannesburg in 1986. A scene from the Michael Cross documentary, The Fun’s Not Over – The James Phillips Story

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BY BILLY SUTER

AN ACCLAIMED movie by Durban film-maker Michael Cross, focusing on composer, musician, band leader and the voice and conscience of a generation of white South Africans, is to be have its first local screening at the 39th Durban International Film Festival, at 8pm on Saturday, July 21, at Musgrave Centre.

The documentary is The Fun’s Not Over – The James Phillips Story, which  will have its local premiere at the festival.  It is also set for a second screening  at Musgrave Centre at 6pm on Wednesday, July 25.

A recent winner of the Audience Award when it premiered at this year’s 20th Encounters South African International Documentary Film Festival, the doccie tells the story of the life and untimely death of James Phillips, who died aged 36 in July 1995. Cross’s film examines Phillips’s extraordinary journey and his multiple musical incarnations.

Phillips’s Afrikaans alter ego, Bernoldus Niemand, had a hit 1983 single, Hou My Vas Korporaal (Hold Me Tightly, Corporal) , which became an anthem of the End Conscription Campaign and spawned “alternative” Afrikaans rock music and the Voëlvry movement.

In 1985, with his beloved Cherry Faced Lurchers, Phillips recorded Shot Down, a song that addressed both white privilege and the violence of the apartheid state.

Phillips’s legacy is that of one of this country’s most aware, articulate and passionate artists. He was a genius, a satirist, a poet and probably one of the most accomplished songwriters that South Africa has ever produced.

The Fun’s Not Over tells Phillips’s story in his own words and through the voices of journalist Max du Preez, satirists Zapiro and Pieter Dirk-Uys, musical collaborators and label-mates such as Koos Kombuis and Vusi Mahlasela, contemporary artists like Jack Parow, and Phillips’s friends and family.

The Fun’s Not Over – The James Phillips Story will be in competition for Best South African Documentary Feature at the 39th Durban International Film Festival.

For more information on the film festival visit  www.durbanfilmfest.co.za or follow The Fun’s Not Over and DIFF on social media.


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