Written and directed by Jarryd Coetsee and based on the acclaimed short story by Drum era journalist Can Themba, the film is part of the Official Selection of the Toronto Black Film Festival, and it was also chosen unanimously by the seven committee members of the Vancouver South African Film Festival. This follows on the film’s selection for the Pan-African Film Festival in Los Angeles which takes place in February. The film stars Tony Award-winner John Kani, his son Atandwa Kani and Phuthi Nakene.
Coetsee was unaware of the success of “The Suit” on the days that the shortlisted films were announced. “All we wanted was for the film to be shared with audiences at a few festivals. It came as such a lovely and pleasant surprise that “The Suit” has resonated in Canada. It’s a humbling experience and I’m truly grateful for this wonderful recognition.”
Set in the dusty township of 1950s Sophiatown, the story takes placed shortly before the apartheid regime removed the racially diverse residents by force and relocated them to the outskirts of Johannesburg to make way for white resettlement after Sophiatown was bulldozed and renamed Triomf, Afrikaans for Triumph. “The Suit” focuses on Philemon, who works for a white lawyer, and his wife, Matilda. One day, Philemon discovers Matilda in bed with her young lover. The lover flees, leaving behind his suit. Philemon decides to punish Matilda in a cruel way, by forcing her to treat her lover’s suit as if it were a person. She must serve it meals, take it for walks around the neighbourhood and seat it beside her at church. Philemon’s cruel punishment of Matilda leads to an astonishing climax.
Coetsee is inspired by the story’s progressive message. “”The Suit” is really a warning from the past to strive for positive change in the present. I look forward to sharing its transformative message with audiences in Canada in our fresh take on this beloved classic and showcasing the sterling work of our cast and crew.”
Founded by the Fabienne Colas Foundation, the 4th Toronto Black Film Festival (TBFF) runs from the 15th – 19th February 2017 and is dedicated to giving unique voices in cinema the opportunity to present audiences with new ways of looking at the world. It is a dynamic, refreshing and audacious festival whose ambition is to encourage the development of the independent film industry and to promote more films on the reality of black people from around the world.