By The Afro
New York, NY, October 8, 2018 – Dark Star Pictures is pleased to announce that it has secured a U.S. theatrical release for the suspense thriller Number 37, beginning Friday, November 2, 2018.
In her debut feature film Number 37, South African director Nosipho Dumisa stages a classic Hitchcockian tale against the raw backdrop of slum life in a forgotten quadrant of Cape Town. In a gritty homage to perennial Alfred Hitchcock favorite Rear Window, the movie points a lens on the residents of a block of apartments in the down-and-out Cape Flats neighborhood–which, with its petty thugs, crooked cops, violent loan sharks, and troubled pastors, soon reveals itself to be a very different place from Rear Window’s Greenwich Village of 1954.
Building on her award-winning short film of the same name, Dumisa refreshes the classic suspense thriller—a genre characterized by edge-of-your-seat tension and plot twists—with this depiction of a low-level thief turned drug trafficker who loses the use of his legs in a deal gone bad. Like James Stewart in Rear Window, he passes his convalescence by gazing out at the world through his binoculars; but when he accidentally witnesses a crime, he seizes the moment as an opportunity to hatch an elaborate and risky blackmail scheme.
Turning the plot of Rear Window on its head, the film asks the question: What happens when the innocent bystander is himself not that innocent?
Brooding antihero Randal, played by Irshaad Ally—an actor who grew up in the district and intimately knows the grim corners of the Cape Flats—is matched by devoted girlfriend Pam, animated with both natural grace and fierce determination by Monique Rockman in her promising debut film lead. Together they radiate the undeniable James Stewart/Grace Kelly chemistry that also pays taut tribute to Hitchcock.
One of South Africa’s first black female feature film directors, Dumisa won the Cheval Noir Best Director prize for Number 37 at Montreal’s Fantasia International Film Festival, just after the film’s world premiere at SXSW this past March. Dumisa also co-wrote the script (alongside Daryne Joshua and Travis Taute), which brims both with sympathy for the hard-luck residents of the fictional Haven Mansions block of Cape Flats—the film was shot on location in the area, rendered in dusty, sunlit panoramas by celebrated cinematographer Zenn van Zyl and complemented by the stirring violins of James Mathes’s original score—and with the local details that keep the vigorous plot in motion until its inevitable end.
Synopsis: Set in a rough section of Cape Town, Number 37 follows Randal Hendricks, a small-time crook who becomes wheelchair-bound in a drug deal gone wrong, and his hard-working girlfriend Pam Ismael. To distract Randal during his homebound days of limited mobility, Pam gives him a pair of binoculars. While idly surveying his block, he accidentally witnesses a dirty cop being executed by his gangster neighbor Lawyer. With a loan shark breathing down his neck, Randal decides to blackmail Lawyer, and enlists the help of both his girlfriend and his friend Warren. When the plan goes horribly awry, Randal’s options get more and more restricted—and not even local detective Gail February, investigating the death of her partner, may be able to help him.
Starring Irshaad Ally, Monique Rockman, Ephraim Gordon, Sandi Schultz, Danny Ross, David Manuel, Elton Landrew, and Deon Lotz, Number 37 is the debut feature of Nosipho Dumisa and has a script co-written by Dumisa, Travis Taute, and Daryne Joshua. Produced by Bradley Joshua and Benjamin Overmeyer of South Africa’s Gambit Films, in association with kykNET Films, M-Net, XYZ Films and the DTI, and distributed by Ster-Kinekor Entertainment and Dark Star Pictures.
The full-length version of Dumisa’s short film of the same name, which made a splash as the winner of the prestigious SAFTA Award for Best Short Film in 2016, Number 37 received its world premiere at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas, in March 2018.
RT: 110 minutes; Color; Language: Afrikaans, English; Rating: NR; Sound: Dolby 5.1
This article originally appeared in The Afro.