With a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, South African movie Kanarie (Afrikaans for "canary") is a gay musical about life during war. Put together, these refreshing elements are a unique mix that earned the film praises from around the globe. Kanarie received several awards from LGBT film festivals around the world, including Roze Filmdagen, NEWfest, Out on Film, as well as other South African film festivals. Moreover, it was selected by Indiewire as one of the "14 Best Queer International Films of 2018."
Set in South Africa in 1985, Kanarie depicts the story of an 18-year-old boy named Johan who joins the Canaries, a military choir, as a way to protest against the war. After undergoing a strict disciplined training, he begins to tour with the Canaries. On tour, Johan falls in love with one of his comrades, Wolfgang, and thus starts to doubt his beliefs, nationalism, and sexuality. Meanwhile, Johan's ideas and passion for music unravel, making him determined to carry out his desire for coming-out despite the objections from his conservative commanding officers.
Falling in love with one of the comrades / Source: GagaOOLala
The film is based on the real story of the co-writer and composer of the film, Charl-Johan Lingenfelder. "What would it have been like if we had seen a film like Kanarie when we were 18? How would it have affected our lives?" Having experienced the apartheid regime in South Africa, both the director and the composer strived to produce a film that propelled audience to rethink about the problems of war, religion, and ethnicity. "It shows you that no matter who you are and what your situation is, whether you are being bullied for being different or fat or whatever the case may be, you are not alone." He also wishes that the film can release teenagers from being oppressed due to their different sexualities and appearances.
Canary, the military choir / Source: GagaOOLala
Moreover, in order to make the atmosphere less severe, the director played with two very different genres such as musicals and war film, and breaking the fourth wall through lively music. Letting the protagonist "talk" with the audience by singing can actually lighten the saddening and stress the unique atmosphere of the film.
South African comedian Schalk / Source: GagaOOLala
When Kanarie was released last year in South Africa, the box office was so good that the screening window was extended. Moreover, when it premiered in the U.S. last year at Outfest in Los Angeles, the feedback from the audience was overwhelmingly positive as well. You can enjoy this gay film epic on GagaOOLala RIGHT NOW!