South African spaghetti western Five Fingers For Marseilles will be in the official competition at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), to be held from 7 to 17 September this year. For those who can’t that long, here is the trailer to whet your appetite.
Directed by Michael Matthews and written by Sean Drummond (the same team behind Apocalypse Now Now), the locally produced Five Fingers For Marseilles is a bad-to-the-bone cowboy flick set in the heart of the Eastern Cape. Those of you who are scratching your head will be happy to know this is a contemporary film that’s predominantly Sesotho with western-genre influences.
The community of Railway, attached to the remote South African town of Marseilles, are the victims of brutal police oppression and only the young “Five Fingers” will stand up to them. Their battle is heartfelt but innocent, until hot-headed Tau kills three policemen in an act of passion. He flees Marseilles, fearing for his life, but his action has triggered what will become a violent war between the police and his remaining Five Finger brothers. Twenty years later, Tau is released from a Johannesburg prison. He has become a feared and brutal gang leader, but scarred and empty inside he renounces violence and returns to the community of his childhood desiring only a peaceful life.
In a new South Africa, Marseilles is indeed free, but to his dismay Tau finds that rather than the haven he hoped for, the town is a community now caught in the grip of cross-border gangs and corruption. Struggling to reconcile with his bitter past, he can keep his head down only so long. When violence spills into his own life he is reluctantly compelled to act. Railway and Marseilles need a champion to fight for their freedom once and for all. Calling in old prison-mates and with new blood at his side, Tau forms a new Five Fingers, standing against old friends and new enemies alike in a thrilling escalation of battle.
Vuyo Dabula heads the cast that includes Hamilton Dhlamini, Zethu Dlomo, Kenneth Nkosi, Mduduzi Mabaso, Aubrey Poolo, Lizwi Vilakazi, Warren Masemola, Dean Fourie, Anthony Oseyemi, Brendon Daniels and Jerry Mofokeng.