52 seconds of this film were cut by the feared South African Publications Control Board in a scene dealing with who has a right to be called an Afrikaaner when they were not white. See more »
In a tracking shot of the debate chamber, the camera's shadow is visible on one of the roof's supporting pillars. See more »
The film commences with an Afrikaans language disclaimer which reassures the viewer that the film's characters are not based on anyone living or dead: a first for a South African feature film. See more »
Die Kandidaat: South African movie making mastery.
Along with Katrina and the later Jannie Totsiens, this is another
classic South African film from what can be rightly termed the golden
age of South Africa cinema, a sadly short-lived period in which
filmmakers, especially Rautenbach and Nofal, found the balls to stand
up against possible censorship and banishment because of the films they
made. Allegedly an exposé of the Afrikaner Broederbond, this was both
South Africa's first political thriller and Jans Rautenbach's first
official and credited tour of duty behind the camera after he and Emil
Nofal had produced King Hendrik and Wild Season together.
In the turbulent 1960's, an Afrikaner nationalist organization, the
Stigting Adriaan Delport, is preparing to willingly admit a new
candidate to its' ranks but proceeds to cold-bloodedly tear the
candidate's life apart when one of their number, a writer in the mould
of the controversial South African author Etienne Leroux, discovers
skeletons rattling in the candidate's closet, amongst which one finds
that the candidate was in a reformatory and that he is engaged to an
Englishwoman: neither of these facts sit well with the board, whose
members begin to question themselves as one startling revelation after
This faceless, shadowy organization ~ supposedly there to assist the
Afrikaner in their daily lives ~ takes its' meetings in a council hall
surrounded by the busts and portraits of past South African Prime
Ministers, with Jan Smuts being the glaring exception to the rule.
Because all decisions taken by the board must be unanimous, the board
members' own skeletons and problems that have been carefully hidden
away, are brought to light by the writer, whose personal demons are
also later and shockingly revealed.
An excellent film in all respects, with the only surprising fact
arising from it is that Die Kandidaat was never banned, although a 52
second cut was made to a sequence where the nationhood of so called
"coloured" people is brought into question. As with the later film
Katrina, the film's targets ~ in this case, specifically the
Broederbond and the government ~ failed to recognize the fact that they
were in fact being targeted and instead of vilifying the film,
The production design, music and cinematography are also standouts
here. and the film's daring examination of the political situation in
SA, circa 1968 was explosive indeed, so much so in fact that the then
all powerful and very much feared Publications Control Board ordered
that a print of the film be seized from the production offices to check
if the cuts ordered by it to be made to the film were effected.
Available for purchase from kalahari.net
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