"Back Of The Moon" leads, Moneoa Moshesh and Richard Lukunku. Picture: Supplied

Director Angus Gibson has returned 30 years later to redeem himself with another Sophiatown story, "Back Of The Moon".

The Oscar nominated director was once highly criticized for a documentary he did 30 years ago titled "Freedom Square". "Back Of The Moon", where viewers said he romanticised Sophiatown, when it was a very tough place.

"Back Of The Moon" premiered at the Durban International Film Festival

“I returned to Sophiatown, were we explored the good and bad of the place. It’s not about the removal, it’s about the people. The center character is an intellectual, but a gangster. There is a darkness to the film that was not there in the documentary. I suppose on the one hand it is a gangster narrative, on the other hand, it is a love story and there is a strange brew,” said Gibson. 

"Back Of The Moon" is a story that is told over one night. It was shot in three weeks, which proved to be challenging for Gibson, who considers himself a “slow operator”. 

The film was completed two years ago, but due to Gibson’s other responsibilities with Isibaya, and waiting for the editor he wanted, it took some time to finish off.

The movie stars Richard Lukunku as Badman, a gang leader in Sophiatown, Moneoa Moshesh as Eve Msomi, a torch singer, along with Thomas Gumede, Lemogang Tsipa and S’Dumo Mtshali.  

The film, a period drama set in 1958, tells the story of a brief encounter between Badman and Eve on the eve of his home being demolished by Apartheid police.  

Gibson said aside from the many themes that run through the movie, one thing that really sticks with him is the idea of talent lost. 

“Eve is kind of a character that was based on Miriam Makeba on the eve that she leaves for London. So you have this great talent that you know is being driven out of this country and then Badman, played by Richard Lukunku, is an intellectual, he should have been a leader in the community and in order to hold his head up high, he has become a gangster. So both of these pretty fabulous characters are lost to South Africa. That is something that I find sad,” he said.  

He also said that the film still has much relevance today as it did in the 1950s.

“I meet talented people all the time in the film industry and there are so many people with great talent that I feel don’t get an opportunity. So that also is talent wasted. That’s a theme I feel is enduring in SA,” said Gibson.
He said the cast was made up of people he had worked with before, and the people he had fun working with. 

“I felt these actors were incredibly talented. And when writing the story, I wrote it with them in mind. They were even consulted in the process. The rest of the crew did an astonishing job. It is also an incredibly beautiful film to look at thanks to Dylan Lloyd, the production designer,” said Gibson.  

Currently Gibson is working on Shaka Zulu remake. 

“We researched for two years. And trying to understand what’s myth and fact. And consulting with families and trying to decide in what way we are going to attack this very huge narrative. It’s a very exciting task,” he said.  


*"Back Of The Moon" will be in cinemas nationwide from September 6.