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EXCLUSIVE: Uga Carlini talks Alison, Angeliena and heroic female characters
Photo: © ANP

EXCLUSIVE: Uga Carlini talks Alison, Angeliena and heroic female characters

EXCLUSIVE: Uga Carlini talks Alison, Angeliena and heroic female characters
Photo: © ANP

Acclaimed South African filmmaker Uga Carlini is becoming famed for focusing on complex female characters.

For documentary Alison and movie Angeliena, the two protagonists are undoubtedly heroes, albeit complicated ones. For her new documentary, Beyond the Light Barrier, she focused on the life and work of renowned meteorologist Elizabeth Klarer, who proved to be a much darker central character.

MovieMeter discussed Beyond the Light Barrier in a previous interview.

In an extensive interview, we also talked with Uga about her previous work.

Alison is a documentary focusing on the tragic yet remarkable story of Alison Botha, a young woman who was kidnapped, raped and stabbed multiple times by two men in South Africa in 1994, yet somehow showed extraordinary resiliency to not only survive but help put the attackers behind bars.

Angeliena is an uplifting story about a parking attendant who decides to drop everything and travel the world while fighting a potentially fatal illness.

Uga Carlini interview

MovieMeter: Alison must have been a scarring yet uplifting experience for you?

Uga Carlini: By the time the camera started rolling for Alison, I had developed such a close relationship with her. For me, it was like having a conversation with a friend - nothing she could say would surprise me. Although she did...

But, for my crew, I didn't realise the impact it had on them. For many of them, even my editor Daniel - he had to go to trauma counselling, as did my assistant.

When you meet Alison, she's so nice and genuinely lovely, that it hurts you even more to think THAT thing happened to this woman.

The effect of that was very profound for my crew. I had built up an immunity, for lack of a better term. I'd been through the worst with her already, numerous times. By the time the camera started rolling, I could breathe.

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Angeliena (2021)

Angeliena is a lovable, lively and widely loved parking attendant in South Africa. Her dream is to travel the world. Over the years, she has collected souvenirs that represent her seemingly unattainable plans. But when told that she has a terminal illness, Angeliena decides to live life to the fullest and realize her dream.

Directed by: Uga Carlini
Stars: Euodia Samson, Tshamano Sebe and Kuli Roberts


MovieMeter: What was the inspiration for Angeliena?

Uga Carlini: I have to give credit to my ex-husband. I give credit where it's due. We had this massive fight because he said I wasn't writing enough. He emailed me a newspaper snippet of this urban legend about a UK parking attendant who one day just didn't show up for work. When they found him he was in the Bahamas living his best life!

There's always a muse, a moment a catalyst. In this cast, the catalyst was a fight with my ex-husband and that article.

MoviMeter: You have discussed previously how you were raised mostly in a home with just your mother and sister. Do you think that influenced how you seek female-centric projects?

Uga Carlini: One of the things that had the most profound effect on me is that my mother would always do whatever we wanted within our bedrooms. Outside the bedroom, it was her rules, but inside that room you could do whatever you wanted. My thing was collaging, from top to bottom, all my favourite movies, movie stars and models of the time.

My sister was a goth, black walls with a big spider-web.

What that gave us, was the freedom of creativity. A non-judgmental, completely free space. Which I will thank my mym for, forever.

What my mum done, she gave us a DVD player. While my mum was at work during school holidays, we would walk to the DVD shop. I could choose a movie and my sister would choose a movie.

My sister was young and cute back then so she would choose an animated movie. I would choose The Exorcist or Rosemary's Baby, and my tiny little sister had to sit through it! She's still traumatised...

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