Four Corners, a story of gangsterism, chess and redemption – and South Africa’s submission to this year’s Academy Awards – releases locally on Friday 28 March.
Watch the trailer:
The film tells the story of a young chess prodigy who must defy the odds and stay one move ahead of the gangs – in a game where winning or losing can mean the difference between life and death. It plays out aspects of the war fought and reported daily on the streets of the Cape Flats, home to the Number gang factions of the Western Cape.
Four Corners was South Africa’s official selection for best foreign language film at the 86th Oscars, as well as an International Press Academy 2014 Satellite Award nominee for best international film.
In a Hollywood Reporter review, Jordan Mintzer described Four Corners as “intense, heartfelt and stylised” with “eye-popping visuals” and “potent performances”. Gavin Hood, director of the Oscar-winning South African film Tsotsi, has called it “a searingly honest piece of art”.
The film stars newcomer Jezriel Skei, who plays the chess prodigy Ricardo, and was directed by Ian Gabriel.
“Strength of family was a starting point and inspiration for this film,” Gabriel says. “Having experienced both bonding and loss as a child, I discovered late in life that my father had twice experienced loss of family, a history that was covered up to protect later generations. This piqued my strong passion for the notion of family as a great binder but also as the impenetrable custodian of losses and pains that can remain forever hidden from view.
“From this personal passion I hoped to evolve a film about family lost and family regained, and to show it from many shifting perspectives, especially from the point of view of a young boy, because I know that story.
“I wanted to make a film that dealt with these trials and conflicts, the desire for family, and the absence of family, and the desire to reform and make things whole within the context of gangsterism.”