Author Archives

Robyn Sassen

A freelance arts writer since 1998, I fell in love with the theatre as a toddler, proved rubbish as a ballerina: my starring role was as Mrs Pussy in Noddy as a seven-year-old, and earned my stripes as an academic in Fine Arts and Art History, in subsequent years. I write for a range of online and print publications, including the Sunday Times, the Mail & Guardian and artslink.co.za and was formerly the arts editor of the SA Jewish Report, a weekly newspaper with which I was associated for 16 years. I am currently a Research Associate at Wits University. This blog promises you new stories every week, be they reviews, profiles, news stories or features.

Sock puppets and dream chasers

WHEN YOU DEEM yourself capable of putting another person into a categorising box, you perform an act of unmitigated violence. And you can do this by simply calling those people ‘foreign nationals’, ‘migrants’, ‘others’, ‘a problem’, the list goes on. It’s a magic gesture which strips another person […]

Checks and balances

SOMETIMES A NOTHING of a story can be the perfect shell for a mix of humour, philosophy and drama. And with the fabulous Javier Bardem at the helm of The Good Boss, you can anticipate narrative magnetism. It’s on this year’s European Film Festival; designed to be hybrid, […]

I was my mother’s best friend

WHO WAS YOUR mother when she was a child? And would you have played with her, if you had met her when you both were eight years old? These ideas are, admittedly head-spinners all of their own. Without sensationalist hi-jinks, Céline Sciamma’s beautiful film, Petite Maman explores the […]

To wrestle God

WHAT WOULD YOU give to keep the dignity of your child intact? This is one of the central premises to Levan Koguashvili’s magnificent film Brighton 4th, a tale woven through the vagaries and indignities of immigrant culture, the unrelenting potency of gambling debt and the chequered messiness of […]

The elephant in the pool

BIAS. THE PERCEPTIONS of value with which one is raised is something that can penetrate so deeply and so early in one’s social behaviour that often it surfaces in a way that is inexplicable. Particularly to others. Aga Woszczynska, in her 2022 work, Silent Land, explores a level […]

Mr Perfect, a cautionary tale

IF YOU WERE a god and had every possible human proclivity at your fingertips, on a drawing board, which ones would you choose to embody your most perfect partner? Beautiful eyes? An ability to laugh? A talent for the spontaneous? Large feet? This is roughly the premise of […]

Yes, he’s heavy; he’s my brother

CHILDHOOD IN THE presence of other people’s children can be terrifying, if you are seven. Think of children bigger, more gregarious than you. Children who have a different understanding of privacy, of play, of parameters, to you. Laura Wandel’s extraordinary work Playground offers a child’s perspective on the […]