Fireworks Logo

Latest Gay Additions...

  • RuPaul's Drag Race UK vs the World
  • Feud: Capote vs. the Swans
  • Rupaul's Drag Race
  • Meet Me Outside
  • Shoulder Dance
  • After Shave with Danny Beard (The)
  • Our Flag Means Death
  • Boy Culture: Generation X
  • RuPaul's Drag Race UK
  • Boys on Film 1-23
  • Golden Age of the American Male (The)
  • Queen of the Universe
  • Willem & Frieda
  • Cooler Climate (A)
  • Eismayer
  • Burning Days
  • All Our Fears
  • American Horror Story
  • Mr. Leather
  • Jacked
  • Interview with the Vampire
  • Tom Daley: Illegal to Be Me
  • Passion
  • Unlearning to Sleep
  • BROS
  • My Policeman
  • Young Royals
  • Iguana Like the Sun
  • Why Not You
  • Big Proud Party Agency (The)
  • Adonis X
  • Law of Love (The)
  • It Runs in the Family
  • Queer as Folk
  • They/Them
  • Macho Caponata
  • You Are My Sunshine
  • Freedom Uncut
  • Vanjie: 24 Hours of Love
  • Everything Went Fine


Country: South Africa, Language: Afrikaans | English, 122 mins

Original Title

  • Director: Christiaan Olwagen
  • Writer: Charl-Johan Linginfelder; Christiaan Olwagen
  • Producer: Jaco Smit; Roelof Storm

CGiii Comment

If it's not the best film to come out of's damn well close!

Apartheid, war, nationalism, conscription, homosexuality...and, Boy George! Indeed, a heady mix...many a director would crumple under the weight of most of these subjects...not Christiaan Olwagen.

First, a bit of background...

The South African Border War lasted for 23 years, 6 months, 3 weeks and 2 days [1966-1990]. In 1967, a compulsory and universal conscription was implemented for white South African men aged over 16 and up to 65 years old. Initially they had to serve for 9 months which increased to 2 years...thereafter, serving for 30 days annually for the next 8 years.

To avoid the draft, many families [who were able] left South Africa...or, they sent their sons abroad for school [me being one]...under the apartheid regime, they were not allowed to return. Those unfortunate souls who were either gay or conscientious objections would - most definitely - be sent to 'Ward 22' - a 'hospital' unit run by evil-incanate [the so-called doctor] Aubrey Levin. Here, they were tortured [aka Aversion therapy] into fit-for-war heterosexuals.

Levin fled to Canada to avoid the justice from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission - later [rather than sooner] he was found guilty on 3 counts of [homosexual] assault and given a [ridiculously lenient] 5-year prison sentence.

There is much more to this story...but, this précis sets the scene for Canary - the grimmest of times for gay South African men. Terrifying times, apartheid was...for everyone who was not a [most foul] supremacist.

Imagine...being in your late teens, fresh out of school, conscripted into a futile war, bible-bashed and gay. It's a mixture of confusion, frustration and abject terror...those poor boys! Sounds like a mighty depressing film, it is not. This is how the human spirit intervenes, how coping systems take over...and, if it takes Boy George to help you through those dark times...let the 'Boy' reign supreme.

Schalk Bezuidenhout serves a 'fine-dining' could you not make a meal of this character!?! want to hug him, hold him, cry with him, slap some sense into him...but, will listen to him. He is the voice of a generation...and, that is why this film is so important...the wounds may have healed, the scars remain. These stories need to be told...

Thank you Mr Olwagen, thank you Mr Linginfelder for having the balls. Thank the cast [all of you] - especially for the music - but, also, for your obvious dedication to the story.

Easily, the finest film to have come out of South Africa...and, in our humble opinion, the best film of 2018.


The(ir) Blurb...

Set in South Africa in 1985 against a backdrop of apartheid, religion and war, Canary is a charming musical drama that chronicles one teen’s struggle to find his voice.

Seventeen-year-old Johan is a small-town boy whose love of British new wave music, and especially Boy George, makes him an easy target for bullying from the neighbourhood kids. When he gets called up for military service, Johan auditions for, and is accepted into, the Canaries— the South African Defence Choir. Initially believing that the choir means he will not be fighting in the war, Johan begins to see the role he plays in the oppression and injustice around him. If that isn’t enough to deal with, Johan is also falling in love with Wolfgang, a fellow Canary.

As Johan’s beliefs about religion, patriotism and sexuality are brought into question, he is left to rely on his emerging creativity and passion for music. And after all, who doesn't need a dance break from time to time?

Cast & Characters

Schalk Bezuidenhout as Johan Niemand
Hannes Otto as Wolfgang Müller
Germandt Geldenhuys as Ludolf Otterman
Gérard Rudolf as Reverend Koch
Jacques Bessenger as Reverend Engelbrecht
Francois Jacobs as Tiaan Taljaard
De Klerk Oelofse as Walter (Rambo) Boonzaaier
Ludwig Binge as Daan Goosen
David Viviers as Kevin Scott
Andrico Goosen as RuanRuan (Lobster) Swart
Beer Adriaanse as Corporal Crunchie
Laudo Liebenberg as Lourens Human
Geon Nel as Corporal de Wet
Emile Tredoux as Corporal du Toit
Johan Botha as Mr. Visser