Jen: Pretoria – where Oscars come from

At first I thought Martin Scorsese should do it. After all, isn’t he the director’s director? I briefly contemplated Ben Affleck too – hey, he got kudos at the BAFTAS and is steadily making a name for himself as more than just that actor who started out in Good Will Hunting. But it soon became clear that only Roger Michell would do.

"I'm also just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her."

“I’m also just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.”

For those not in the know, Roger Michell is the chap who directed the movie Notting Hill. T’was he who gave us that achingly simple scene where Julia Roberts stands in front of Hugh Grant and says “I’m also just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.”


And since I have spent the better part of the past six weeks trying – but failing – to come up with a celluloid-worthy love scene so powerful that it would knock my idea of sense into the man-who-was-my-mister, I figure it’s time to bring in a pro, a real live cinematic master. I consider the aforementioned Julia scene a good enough CV, but what really sealed it for me was learning that Mr Roger Michell, though described as an English film director, was born in…wait for it…my home town of Pretoria in South Africa!

Until last week, Pretoria was perhaps not a very familiar name to those not in some way associated with South Africa. Thanks to the Valentine’s Day drama around one Oscar Pistorius, this has changed quite dramatically and now Pretoria features daily in international media. Given that the subject of my affections also hails from Pretoria it seems only right that we keep my movie local. It’s lekker that way.

So why a movie? Well, because except in very rare anti-Hollywood cases, they tend to have happy endings. And to get there, there is frequently a defining moment when the girl or boy of the girl-meets-boy story does or says something so incredible or profound that not only does s/he win the heart of the subject of his/her affection, but any heart within a 50 mile radius too! And blerrie hell, that’s what I need!

I know it goes against all logic, and you would think that for an intelligent woman who has just re-read Eat, Pray, Love – which should surely be labelled a text book for love – and is making her way, somewhat reluctantly, though It’s called a break-up because it’s broken that I would know to steer clear of Hollywood-style gestures in the face of contradictory fact. I believe it’s called ‘(wo)man up and move on’. But apparently I am the most irrationally persistent woman on the planet, and a drama queen, and in the same way that I want my sunset, I want my Hollywood ending too!

So, Mr Roger Michell, I hereby submit a formal request for you to come and direct an iconic love scene for my life. A scene so effective, so utterly compelling that not only will it win over the heart of a certain skabenga* from Pretoria, it might even win me an Oscar (no, not the one from Pretoria). I’ve even done some research, trawling the internet for inspirational quotes to get you started. I found myself unexpectedly touched by a line from Spongebob Squarepants wherein Spongebob asks his friend Patrick “what do you usually do after I leave?” and Patrick answers “wait for you to come back”. I know he’s only a cartoon sponge in shorts, but that’s good sh*t!

So, what do you reckon, are you in or does this stuff really only happen in the movies?

*Skabenga: South African term for a rascal or scallywag.


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