Claire Angelique in the film, "Palace of Bones". Picture: Sean Laurenz
Claire Angelique in the film, "Palace of Bones". Picture: Sean Laurenz

'Palace of Bones' set to headline Ugu Film Festival

By Alyssia Birjalal Time of article published Jan 17, 2020

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Writer-director, Claire Angelique’s second feature film has been given a special place at the Ugu Film Festival this year. 

"Palace of Bones" will headline the three-day festival taking place at the Margate Hotel in Port Shepstone from January 24 to Sunday, January 26. 

The micro budget film that tells the story of the strange and unstable day to day life of Faith - a scarred but quirky twenty five year old.

“Palace of Bones" is the documentation of, over a couple of months of a twenty five year old, filmed entirely on cellular phones and old digital video by her devoted best friend, the enigmatic Po. We are privy to a voyeuristic peek into the girls friend's squats, downtown bars and bedroom confessions,” said Angelique. 

The film was made win the winnings from when Angelique bagged the the award for Young Artist of the Year (Film) for her feature debut My Black Little Heart at the National Arts Festival in 2010.

"Palace of Bones" is a sophisticated and layered ‘indie whodunit’ that probes a debased and immoral society, where drug dealers marvel at the corruptible nature of the police.

Angelique said her inspiration for the story came from her daily observations of subcultures. 

“I tucked into the backstreets, squats, flats, streets and beachfront in and around Durban. I don't quite know why but I'm always drawn to malaligned characters and if there's a choice of taking a riskier way to waste a few hours chances are that's the way I'll roll. I also was very keen at the time of having the freedom from equipment, scheduling, producers, production designers etc (after the international bigger budget, crew and production from My Black Little Heart) just to go and shoot up the town, without responsibility,” said Angelique.

She said she wanted to capture the immediacy of how people hang out.

“I didn't have to rely on the characters ''acting'' they were acting like normal people would when you thrust a camera in your face either self consciously or mostly just pretty annoyed. I thought it seemed like a cool premise for the project,” she said. 

Themes of obsession, boredom, being broke, addiction, hustling and mental illnesses run throughout the 90 minute film.

Talking about this year’s theme for the festival, Angelique said she thinks African women have a decidedly different view of their reality than African men no matter how controversial, sad or joyful it may be. 

Well I think anyone with talent but more importantly the drive and focus and of course a story to tell, should be recognised. I'd like to see more female comedy and dramas that have a bit more gravitas and our TV programs stepping it up a notch in terms of complexity. And of course more female producers, cinematographers, lighting designers, editors and composers,” she said. 

Angelique said people should support the film because it's completely cast, shot and produced by a KwaZulu Natal cartel.

“'Palace of Bones' is a Durban film and it stinks of Durban and dirty Durban kids doing dirty Durban stuff. Besides if the film industry can get a boost down the coast and increase work, it's a win win situation and jobs on a film set are a lot of fun,” she said.

Currently Angelique is working on four more films', a series and a book.

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