Yesterday, the first-ever isiZulu commercial film which was released on Friday, 3 September has become this year’s second highest grossing South African film in its opening weekend after Schuster’s Oh Shucks, I’m Gatvol which was released on over four times as many cinemas as Yesterday. There has been a phenomenal word-of-mouth on the film, resulting in an increase in the boxoffice on Tuesday, 7 September compared with that of Sunday, 5 September.
Apart from the boxoffice success, Yesterday has also received critical acclaim. The Daily News declared, “Yesterday is a triumph for local film-making and should be seen by all South Africans,” while This Day said, “a delicate film with a devastating story that’s told with simplicity,” and Business Day stated, “Yesterday is blessed with moving performances.” The Mercury pronounced Yesterday as a “landmark local film…One of the best South African films yet made,” The Sunday Tribune Magazine said, “It tells a moving simple story…the best South African feature film,” while the Sunday Times Magazine commented, “beautifully made and it tells an important story.”
Producer, Anant Singh commented, “Yesterday is a South African film, in an indigenous language and one that showcases our amazing talent and we are delighted that local audiences are responding to the film. The success of Yesterday, both locally and at the Venice Film Festival last week, is certainly encouraging for our industry.”
Yesterday had a gala screening at the 61st Venice International Film Festival last Friday (3 September) with its lead star, Leleti Khumalo, writer/director Darrell James Roodt, producer Anant Singh and South Africa’s ambassador to Italy, Mr L.M. Shope. The film evoked an emotional response from the largely Italian audience and ended in a fifteen minute standing ovation.
Yesterday is a Videovision Entertainment production in association with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, M-Net, The National Film And Video Foundation, Distant Horizon and Exciting Films and was shot on location in KwaZulu Natal. Music was composed by Madala Kunene and it is executive produced by Sudhir Pragjee and Sanjeev Singh, produced by Anant Singh and Helena Spring and written and directed by Darrell James Roodt.