A black year for noir, but not for food


A black year for noir, but not for food

Journalist and author HERMAN LATEGAN shares his five favourite restaurants and explains why he cannot recommend five movies among this year's crop. LAUREEN ROSSOUW adds a list of Instagram tags to help with furniture hunting.

  • 07 June 2024
  • Lifestyle
  • 5 min to read
  • article 13 of 14


Herman Lategan's recommendations.

I don't have a taste for the mainstream, so most series on the streaming services are too vanilla for me. The man in Baby Reindeer with his eina face like someone who has smelt rotten food did little for me.

Ripley was even worse. The man is too old and bitter, he looks like someone who has had some sour mampoer. The fake neo-noir black and white didn't work for me. I know my noir films, and what they were trying to do was amateurish. By the way, if you want to see a film in which an Italian city features as a flamboyant and breathtaking character, watch Woody Allen's To Rome with Love.

I haven't seen one good film this year either, sorry. The Labia cinema is my hangout, and I went to see All of Us Strangers there. It has a gay theme and, for me, was even worse than Call Me by Your Name. Is it necessary for films with a gay theme to look and taste like pink spookasem (candyfloss)? No, lordy, give me strength. And the people's lust is never quenched either, an endless eagerness that reminds one of crying street coquettes with no work.

All of Us Strangers is about a night in an almost empty London tower block where one Adam has a chance meeting with his mysterious neighbour, Harry. This leads to something that looks like it could have acquired more gravitas, but in the end it was about two boring smartasses who had apparently been chattering and cooing in the afterlife. Go figure. Three of us went to see it and stumbled out into the bright sunlight, stunned and blinded, to the nearest bar.

So I can't recommend anything from the past year, just the following: YouTube has quality noir films from the 1940s and 1950s and it's free. That type of movie where the women are dangerous, the men desperate for booze and the script minimalistic. The camera work is magnificent and Ripley's people can learn from them how to work with black and white. Here is a link to a festival of free films.

My own shortlist of vintage noir includes the following:
#1 The Maltese Falcon, based on the brilliant book by Dashiell Hammett, one of the best crime writers.
#2The Big Sleep is an adaptation of Raymond Chandler's book.
#3 Sunset Boulevard is one of the most authentic films about old Hollywood.

There are too many to mention. Here's another list of the 10 best noir movies, which also tells you on which platform to watch them.

Happy viewing!

Lees hierdie artikel in Afrikaans:


Herman Lategan's favourite restaurants.

#1 Mano's has been on the main road of Green Point for almost three decades. The food and wine are affordable. The interior is minimalist, with white tablecloths and white walls—think Greece's blue skies and white walls. It is a hangout for young models but also older people who like simple, tasty dishes. The late writer Karel Schoeman sometimes came to eat here. My favourite is the burger and chips—don't be fooled—it's top quality.

#2 Mario's, also in Green Point, has been at the same location for more than 50 years. Delicious, unfussy Italian food prepared by Pina, the matriarch, and her son and daughter. The daughter's son also works there, so it is a full family affair. They sometimes have offal, some of the best I've eaten. Rabbit, if available, is a top-notch dish. If that type of food doesn't appeal to you, try the homemade pasta. Irresistible. My favourite dish is puttanesca with tomato, capers, anchovies, garlic and chilli.

#3 Parea Greek Taverna is not in the Cape, but if you are in Illovo in Johannesburg in pursuit of a delicious plate of food and a wild atmosphere, try it. Lunches are usually calmer. There is dancing on Saturdays. The taverna has existed for more than three decades. Someone who has been doing it for such a long time must be doing something right. Here you will also run into people you haven't seen for years. Like the woman I thought was already dead, whose ghost came to my table, face paralysed by Botox but no wrinkle in sight.

#4 In Johannesburg it is a matter of great importance to visit the Radium Beer Hall. It is claimed to be the oldest pub in the city. The people hanging out there are a mix of crumpled Charles Bukowski, Andy Warhol with his cadaverous face and a melancholic James Baldwin rocking in his chair. You can eat pizza, but their giblets (intestines from a chicken) must be world-famous. Their chicken livers with chilli sauce have already made me burst into tears of pain and pleasure.

#5 If you want to spoil yourself and the whole family (there is a playground for children), visit the wine farm Muldersbosch, a stone's throw from Stellenbosch. There are unobstructed views of the vineyards, and the menu is quite simple: a choice of wood-fired pizza, burgers with fries and a cheese board or something sweet for dessert. The wine is excellent. Just keep an eye on the little things before they disappear into the vineyards. Tjorts!

Laureen shares her five best Insta-accounts for Mid-Century furniture.

#1 @Huisraad_ modern: For its sober style and quality pieces.
#2 @Ride_a_white_swan: For its Seventies James Bond approach.
#3 @Capecitymodern: For its collectibles.
#4 @Maximalist_antiques: For its great variety and unpredictable finds.
#5 @century_modern: My favourite Johannesburg collector of Mid-Century furniture.

♦ VWB ♦

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