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Confessions of a Gambler

2008-06-19 09:21
What it's about:

A devout Muslim woman struggles with the news that her son is gay and dying of Aids. After his passing she turns to gambling to escape the painful realities in her life. As she falls deeper into debt, she tries to reclaim her faith and her life.

What we thought of it:

Simply put, we cannot compare our films to Hollywood blockbusters. The differences in history, reality, resources, culture and values (to mention a few) do not allow it. That said, Confessions of a Gambler is a treasure – true to South Africa, with high South African standards.

If the backbone of a good film is its ability to draw the audience into it and extract some level of emotion, then this is a film to see. It tells the poignant story of Abeeda, a candid and dutiful Muslim woman who finds herself torn between her God and her addiction to the alluring bright lights and impending riches of Grand West Casino.

Free of condescending Cape Flats stereotypes, Confessions of a Gambler tells an untold story. Refreshingly, it deals with real conflicts of a Cape Malay Muslim woman; not only shining a light on the truth that many from the Cape Flats come from religious homes, it also gives a voice to one of South Africa's minorities.

There are no images of loitering youngsters smoking tik on street corners and boys being initiated into gangs. Images of drunkards staggering and loose women with toothless smiles have no place in this film. Rather, the Flats are presented as colourful and vibrant. Street vendors and bright taxis, cards and cigarettes, music and local humour all give the film a realistic finesse.

Although the montages of Abeeda in the casino become a bit monotonous and a poor performance by Ganief Marcus lets the film down, it is worth watching for the insight it provides, the laughs it affords and the honesty it offers. It's a prime example of the power cinema has to teach a nation about itself.

- Natalie Sineke

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A daring, independent, pious Muslim woman develops a gambling addiction when her youngest son becomes ill.

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