Stuur Groete aan Mannetjies Roux

2014-01-09 10:15
 
Stuur Groete aan Mannetjies Roux
What it's about:

A family drama on the dangers of sweeping years of truth under the carpet and hoping for the best.

A teenage girl, Engela, visits the Karoo farm of her uncle Frans and aunt Koba during the school holidays. A journey of discovery starts - she has to find out who she really is and where she comes from.

Three visitors in one week change her life forever and her uncle’s obsession with the rugby try by Mannetjies Roux is at last explained.

What we thought:

It is very refreshing to watch an Afrikaans movie that doesn’t involve some Boere royalty singing with their ‘liefling’ or a slap stick over-the-top comedy that makes fun of a young rainbow nation.

Stuur Groete aan Mannetjies Roux is a slow paced drama about the poisonous effects secrets have on relationships, soaking in at the same time the timelessness of its landscapes in the Karoo. The pace mimicks this, in a good way, giving the plot and the audience enough time to fully realise the implications of the eventual revelations.

A brilliant adaptation taken from the stage, the plot is inspired by the Queen of Afrikaans music Laurika Rauch’s popular song of the same name, also famously known for her rendition of Koos Du Plessis’ Kinders in die Wind. I have not seen the original play, but if you know the lyrics to Mannetjies Roux you can easily spot all the references in the movie – even ‘die ou masjien’ has an important part in the movie.

Knowing the song also drives home the genius of the secrets. Before all is revealed, you have already run a couple of theories in your head about what the big secret is, showing how well-written the script is. Bos Bok Ses Films, who have also produced Verraaiers and Musiek vir die Agtergrond, is giving the Afrikaans film scene a seriousness that was somewhat lacking in the wave of musicals and comedies. I can only hope the Afrikaans community, as well as other South Africans catch onto this trend and give it the support it deserves.

Not only is the plot intriguing, but the cinematography was absolutely gorgeous, to say the least. Vast dry landscapes, a rickety windpomp on a lonely farm, the typical old style farm house and peppered with colourful characters on dusty roads. Director Paul Eilers has an amazing eye for shots and scenery and whoever scouted the location for the movie should get a medal.

Ian Roberts and Anna-Mart van der Merwe are old hands in the SA movie business, and this experience shows, with a powerful closing performance from Van der Merwe. They had the right mix of love and jealousy which baked as hard as the Karoo sun.

Alongside these two pros, the side characters were also vivid, interesting and played a role in the plotline. The most notable was the wandering tramp, Toemaar, played by stage actor Elton Landrew known for his roles in District Six and Kat and the Kings. The clown of the dessert seemed simple at first, but becomes like the wise old cricket from Pinocchio, giving advice to the other main characters while holding an air of mystery. Stellar acting and a well-applied method performance.

There is, however, one character that got on my logical nerves and could have almost derailed the whole movie – the young ‘girl’ from whom all the secrets are kept. I say ‘girl’ because what it really looked like was a much older woman dressing up as a teenager which ended up looking ridiculous. This is not a dig on Lizelle de Klerk’s competency as an actress, but more of a critique on the casting choice. They couldn’t have found a capable actress that was more age appropriate, or even still in school, at best someone who has just finished school?

Besides this sometimes jarring miscasting - which could have made the difference between four and five stars - overall the film was a breath of fresh, farm air and would hopefully lead to scripts with more depth not just from the Afrikaans movie industry, but other language niches as well.
Stuur Groete aan Mannetjies Roux.
Read more on:    south africa  |  movies  |  afrikaans

Siss 2013/12/17 2:40 PM
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Great movie
Jason 2013/12/17 2:50 PM
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Het van hierdie een gehou
gabi.zietsman 2013/12/17 2:53 PM
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Awesome
UncleGeorge 2013/12/18 10:51 AM
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Come on...post my comment. Why are you letting an intern review films and thus have any say on an audience's reactions, expectations and choices? Why? Hmmmm? By those in the business, this is seen as disrespectful and reckless. Think about that as you sip your cup-a-soup.
Thomas 2013/12/19 12:15 PM
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"n skitterende film wat mens laat nadink en wonder oor die lewe en die dieper betekenins van alles. Ek sou hom sterk aanbeveel.
Kat K 2013/12/22 9:13 PM
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The song is "Kinders VAN die wind" and it's by Koos DU PLESSIS, not Kombuis.
PD 2014/01/08 11:24 AM
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Be carefull of not having wrong expectations of the movie (like me)-- *don't expect to learn why Mannetjies Roux or his try is so famous (only a detail description of the try itself is given. The movie has actually nothing to do with Mannetjies Roux); don't expect to be a richer person afterwards (the plot is thin, and only nostalgic die-hard people will read all kinds of deeper wisdom into this movie); *don't expect an interesting plot (I can summarize the movie in three sentences, 'secrets' and all); don't expect the movie to highlight the songs if you love the songs of Laurika; *don't expect to much logic in the story (the presence and role of Toemaar, Elton Landrew, is questionable. Leave this character out with all his little 'wisdoms' and it will not matter the least); I suggest Chris Torr keep on writing music, but leaves movies to the grown ups.
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