7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Inspirational Film Making from South Africa,
This review is from: Life Above All [DVD] (DVD)
This moving film is based on the book `Chanda's Secret's' by Allan Stratton and has been adapted for the screen by the much talented Oliver Schmitz (Paris Je te'aime). It is the story of Chanda played with great ability by first time actress Khomotso Manyaka. Her father is dead and her mother has remarried a no good alcoholic who has borne him three more children, Chanda is the eldest and so when her mother becomes `ill' she takes on the role of mother, carer and worrier for the whole family.
The step father is an alcoholic who has forgotten why he started drinking but not where to go for it and drunken `extra marital conjugation'. He also blames his wife for the death of their youngest child, but is still able to steal the funeral money for his own ends.
Into this mix Chanda has an only friend called Esther; this poor soul has no-one, no hope and no money. She ekes out an existence by selling her under age body to predators who stop at the local lorry park. Her `lifestyle choice' as some would call it means that she is cast out by the community. This community also believes in witchcraft, superstition and quack doctors. They also believe that `The Disease' -HIV is a punishment from God and that the person with it is possessed. Chanda is judged by the company she keeps and because she wants to do what is right she too gets judged.
This is a beautifully acted , directed and photographed piece of cinema, the story itself would have been compelling enough but so much more is thrown into the mix, that would be spoilers if divulged, that this becomes something special.
Whilst the film deals with the unfounded prejudices of South African society and some very cruel people, this is also a story of love and devotion as well as hardships that are so alien to us in the `west' but are an every day occurrence for far too many in the wider world. For serious world cinema fans this is an absolute must see, it is in Northern Sotho with sub titles in English; highly recommended.