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Top 5 South African Films...

South Africa is quickly developing as a film-making nation. To see just how far we've come along, Spling picks his Top 5 South African films.

District 9 (2009)

Neill Blomkamp and Peter Jackson's thought-provoking and iconic sci-fi actioner put us on the map as a film-making destination with not one, but four Oscar nominations. The massive alien ship hovering over Johannesburg, the political subtexts involving "prawns", the mockumentary tone, cutting edge special effects and the captivating man-on-the-run story, all contributed to a film to be immensely proud of.

District 9 continues to reverberate as Blomkamp has gone on to direct Elysium, Chappie and is set to reinvigorate the Alien franchise, while Sharlto Copley has become a bona fide Hollywood star to rally the likes of our favourite Hollywood Monster, Charlize Theron.

Proudly SA moment? Listening to our unmistakable accents dominating a world-class film.

Life, Above All (2012)

Life, Above All is an award-winning universal story about the intricate relationship between a mother and daughter in modern day South Africa. Writer-director Oliver Schmitz has composed an important, emotionally taut and melancholic drama with heartfelt performances, an insightful social commentary and beautiful cinematography.

The beauty and ugliness of humanity are reflected in the eyes of a terrific lead performance from young Khomotso Manyaka as Chanda, who shows great maturity in this underrated South Africa drama. Life, Above All is a touching, quietly optimistic and resilient drama, confirming a way forward no matter what life seems to throw at us.

Proudly SA moment? Being engrossed in an emotionally and intellectually-stimulating SA film.

Hard to Get (2014)

Hard to Get echoes a similar passion and intensity to acclaimed Congolese crime thriller, Viva Riva. It's arguably South Africa's best action movie ever, powered by a similar sweaty, sexy and dangerous intensity on the back of world-class production values and surprisingly mature film-making for a number of feature film debuts.

We're blasted into a quick-paced action romance crime thriller in the style of Bonnie & Clyde, brandishing great bit characters with two incredibly charming co-leads. The unrequited chemistry between Skiets and TK is what fuels the burning romance and we can't help but be blown away by this high-octane actioner.

Proudly SA moment? When you realise just how much you've enjoyed the relentless onslaught of action and caper comedy that seems to ooze out of every scene.

Yesterday (2004)

Yesterday is a simple, pure, slow and quietly powerful South African drama from writer-director Darryl Roodt. It's the first feature-length Zulu film and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Film, lauded for its universality and purity, positively compared with The Bicycle Thief.

The film stars Leleti Khumalo as Yesterday, a young mother who discovers she has Aids and wants to live long enough to see her daughter go to school. Khumalo's heartfelt performance embodies the film's grace and nobility as she comes to terms with her plight. It's an emotionally complex and moving drama with an educational message that runs deep.

Proudly SA moment? Being absorbed by a powerful drama in a South African mother tongue that moves and inspires you.

Material (2012)

Material is possibly the smartest, most heart-warming movie to originate from South Africa. Based on Riaad Moosa's life,Material deals with a young Muslim man whose love for stand-up comedy leads to conflict when his father expects him to take over the family business in Johannesburg.

Those expecting a straight comedy will not be disappointed, but pleasantly surprised by the film's emotional resonance, which is evoked by an honest script, two fantastic co-leads and a strong team effort. Craig Freimond's comedy drama is a crowd-pleaser that will make you laugh, cry and think - without hitting you over the head.

Proudly SA moment? Feeling the palpable father-son chemistry between Riaad Moosa and Vincent Ebrahim.

Close but no cigar: Roepman, Die Wonderwerker, Verraaiers, Four Corners, Fanie Fourie’s Lobola, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and Tsotsi.

Article first appeared in TechSmart 138, which you can find here.