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'n Saak van Geloof

2011-09-13 10:53
What it's about:

Marietjie Naude, an 18-year-old country girl, goes home to her parents’ farm Hoopfontein for Christmas. When she tells her parents Ella and Kallie that she is pregnant, they are shocked. But the real blow comes when she assures them she is still a virgin and that the Holy Spirit must be the father of her unborn child.

Her father Kallie, really wants to believe his daughter, but as Sanna the kitchen maid puts it, "Faith does not always come easy."


Things do not go well when a father hears that his teenage daughter is pregnant, and things go from bad to worse when he hears that his son-in-law is none other than the Holy Spirit. Well, this is how Marietjie explains her pregnancy and also her unimpeachable virginity to her father, Kallie. And on Christmas Eve no less.

Diony Kempen’s debut film gets off to a promising start, it is a retelling of the nativity story, but then it is as if the screenwriter and director lose their conviction half way through. One expects a spry, modern take on religion in a time where "no one belives in miracles anymore".

The "immaculate conception" serves as starting point and from there one expects more consternation in a conservative community and at least all manner of magical realist moments. And yet, this does not transpire. Save for a single precious moment where a boiler explodes there are not many magical moments to speak of.

The audience’s attention is however captured by Marietjie (Lelia Etsebeth) who clings to her story as well as her search for a church that tolerates miracles. Other lovely performances such as Michael Brunner’s Oubaas also captivates.

The message then revolves around the love child with the birthmark called Krisjan, who is able to cure the sick and mend relationships. His arrival is the miracle, because love is the actual miracle.

It is as though everything is decidedly swept under the carpet during the final half hour, the status quo must be maintained because the front gate has screeched – the dominee is doing house calls.

Strong comedic actor Robbie Wessels simply does not convince as the father of a teenage daughter. Real farmers will likely also find fault with the actor’s city slicker antics atop the windpomp – spanner in hand.

The film is set in the Karoo town of Prins Albert and Prins Albert and its people give their all as they act out their parts. This is the bonus of an Afrikaans film shot in a small town. It is a faithful interpretation and shows characters who are perhaps too passionately involved in each others’ lives, gossiping, the solemn prayer day for rain that never comes and the palpable relief when the heavens grow dark and starts to drone.

Everything plays out like a kuier in a friend’s kitchen – where this extraordinary story is told, with Vanessa Lee as excellent narrator.

Despite a few highlights, Saak van Geloof’s energy was lost too quickly and the actual crux of the story went missing all too soon.

Set in the magical Karoo town of Prince Albert the story revolves around forgiveness, acceptance and the meaning of miracles.

- Die Burger

Read more on:    south african film  |  review  |  movies

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(Comments may be edited or deleted at the Channel24 editors’ discretion)
Johnny 2011-09-14 04:58 PM
  • Rating:
I fount the movie to get off to a slow start but one it got going it was actually really good. Worth the money to go watch it.
Tristan 2011-09-14 08:22 PM
  • Rating:
A great gentle visual interpretation of a parable. Loved the Prince Albert scenery and characters. Vanessa Lee stole the show. It could have been a bit more dramatic in reaching for it's conclusion but hat off to the director, cameraman and whoever wrote the music score.
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