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Life Above All [DVD]
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Twelve year-old Chanda's childhood life is about to change.
Unpleasant rumours begin to spread in the township that her family is cursed and that mother Lillian is to blame. Despite the best efforts of neighbour Mrs. Tafa and the more dubious intentions of an untrustworthy clinician and a local witchdoctor, Lillian becomes increasingly unwell and eventually heads off into the countryside. Along with the help of best friend Esther, a defiant and headstrong Chanda takes matters into her own hands, setting off to find Lillian and put right the wrongs set by her superstitious community.
From award winning South African filmmaker Oliver Schmitz (Mapantsula, Paris, je t´aime), Life, Above All captures the enduring strength of loyalty and a courage powered by the heart, and has been heralded as a life-affirming entry into the New South African cinema canon.
Based on the international best-selling novel 'Chanda's Secrets' by Allan Stratton.
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- Cast & Crew Interview
An astonishing portrayal of a young girl s bravery... a heartrending yet ultimately triumphant film. --Monocle
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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.
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