Ouma Se Slim Kind

2007-06-18 12:38
What it’s about:

When a mentally disabled child named Kareltjie is orphaned by a tragic ox wagon accident, he is taken in by a kindly local woman named Ouma (Annalise Bosch). Her other ward, a mischievous youngster named Fan Jan, appoints himself as Kareltjie’s guardian. But when the government orders that all white children must attend school, regardless of their mental capacity, Kareltjie finds himself at the mercy of the local bully.

What we thought of it:

Ouma Se Slim Kind is a film overflowing with ambition. In his director’s statement, Gustav Kuhn calls his debut feature a “landmark production by young Afrikaans filmmakers who want to be central in the recreation of an Afrikaans feature film industry.” Noble sentiments indeed. But idealism is no substitute for good filmmaking, not to mention good sense, both of which are in desperately short supply here.

Kuhn and his crew clearly have some talent for the visuals, including a particularly good eye for landscapes. But what they lack sorely is a decent writer, followed by a decent editor.

The project grew out of a 20-minute short film that Kuhn wrote and directed while still at film school – although “grew” is an overstatement. Stretched across an hour and a half, this simplistic story is too thin a brew to sustain any real interest.

To make matters worse, Kuhn has chosen to pad Ouma Se Slim Kind with mushy sentimentality. In fact the entire film has been built around the phrase “Ag, shame!”

Oh, look at the “special” little child who speaks only in the third person: “Kareltjie is lief vir Ouma.” Ag, shame! Look at the little pig that follows him around. Her name is Poppie. Ag, shame! And look at his noble black friend who wants to protect him. Ag, shame!

And by the time they’ve added a weepy score and some equally mushy dialogue, you’re literally swimming in syrup. Sentiment can be very powerful when it earns its place in the viewers’ hearts, but Ouma Se Slim Kind paws at us so clumsily that it’s hard not to get annoyed. Yes, oumas are kind and bullies are mean, we get the point. Now please stop battering us with it.

The final nail in the film’s coffin is the ludicrously sensationalist ending. Any film that requires characters to act in complete contradiction of its own setting and logic is throwing away its credibility. In this case the villain of this piece, played with great intensity but little skill by Hykie Berg, is made to perform the most unlikely acts of violence. Why? Because it suits the plot.

There would be few things more welcome in our local film industry than the rebirth of Afrikaans cinema. The last thing we want to do is bow to the relentless Americanisation of our culture and forget our rich heritage. And you have to hand it to Kuhn and his collaborators – at least they are out there and working. Unfortunately, all the good intentions in the world don’t make Ouma Se Slim Kind is any less of a sentimental train wreck.

- Alistair Fairweather
Afrikaans filmmaking has a future - but that future is not in over-produced, sentimental claptrap like Ouma Se Slim Kind.

Liezl 2007/05/10 9:27 AM
Local is lekker I loved it! Lighten up Alistair!
Uncle 2007/05/10 10:12 AM
At least he's trying I have to agree with Alistair's sentiments: At least somebody is trying to make local cinema which does not revolve around apartheid or aids. It is also refreshing that they did not feel the need (or weren't forced) to cast an American in order to gain distribution. I do however feel that your criticism is a bit harsh, Alistair. Surely it can't all be negative apart form the pretty pictures (as you pointed out). A bit of positive reflection by the "critics" (who very often take their job titles far too literally) would help get bums on seats, and that is what we will need in order to truly witness the re-birth of the SA, and in particular, the Afrikaans Cinema Industry. Case in point, Tsotsi - Would it have made any money if the critics hadn't loved it and it hadn't won the Oscar? Well, in comparison to that Cinematic Gem, Mamma Jack, it made mere peanuts locally...sad, but true...We need to spawn a culture of local cinema, but the critics must help this along.
AM 2007/05/10 10:32 AM
Absolutely fallacious... ...to argue that Alistair's criticism is "too harsh" for any reason whatsoever. The reality of the situation is that if South African films want to lay claim to the South African bums-on-seats, they need to take the hits that most other films take- if they're bad. There is no way I could justify having different standards for measure just because it's a South African film in the name of a "re-birth". A true rebirth is when critics stop treating insipid films and music in particular with kid gloves. If a reviewer thinks a film is bad, let him/her state the reasons, which Alistair has done. In no way does he control your mind. If you want to see or support it so badly, just go anyway. the end.
Braam 2007/05/10 10:50 AM
Oxwagon? Alistair obviously do not know what an oxwagon is. Oxen usually pulls this, not horses. Wake up! Does this mean we cannot trust the rest of his judgement?
Anton Ernst 2007/05/10 11:40 AM
My Ouma se slim Kind I think the reviewer's comments is completely out of line. This is the first Afrikaans movie on circuit in years and I believe a good one as well. What about mentioning the performances, the cinematography, the production design, etc. All these elements made the movie look fantastic and more than that it had achieve its objective by luring the audience into believing the story. Yes it is sentimental, but did the reviewer expect a thriller? It is a movie made for all audiences in South Africa and I believe that all the film makers can be very proud of what they have achieved and that everyone(not just Afrikaans speaking audiences) MUST go and support this movie. Alistair would do well to encourage films to be made to tell South African stories and forget always mentioning the absurd notion that we are Amercianising our movies. We do share a common thread of the Western culture and if there is sometimes similarities it does not mean it is stolen from America. Well done to everyone and
Alistair 2007/05/10 12:27 PM
I disagree Anton Going to see a film just because it is local will help no-one. You're right about the production design was pretty good, and I did imply that the cinematography was good. The reason I shied I away from mentioning the performances is because they were so uniformly bad, and I didn't want to stomp on local actors when it is likely that the script is at fault. Also, I usually can't fit everything I want to say into a review, so I have to stick to the most significant points.
Anton Ernst 2007/05/10 1:20 PM
My Ouma se Slim Kind Alistair, as a South Africa film maker myself I can vouch for all the obstacles one has to over come to make a film. To have been able to make it is already a sucsess in this environment and that needs to be appauded. Ofcourse you have the right to your opinion on your review and that should always be respected and be independant, but one should not loose fact that this film is good. Not because it is local or Afrikaans but because it is good. The acting is not bad, and I disagree completely with your point of view that it was collectively bad. Remember, it is a genre film and it should be reviewed on those merits. I respect your review but do not agree with it.
Spongebob 2007/05/10 8:19 PM
film adict Winning the Audience Award and one for Best Script at the 2006 Apollo Film Festival, it enjoyed equal success at the 2007 Klein Karoo Festival, playing to full house. One of South Africa's most prominent producers, Jans Rautenbach said after a screening of the film at the Klein Karoo Festival that it was one of the best local film he has seen. Ouma se Slim Kind is the first Afrikaans language feature film for cinema release since Paljas. Told by young Afrikaans voices this landmark production aims to invigorate the South African Afrikaans film industry. Originally a short film, Ouma Se Slim Kind, was well received at the Toronto, Africa in picture, Chicago, Manchester and several other European film festivals. Ouma se Slim Kind tells the triumphant story of a young mentally handicapped boy who transforms the fabric of his society, and emerges as a heroic icon. The story plays off in the 1940's and unfolds against the often harsh, yet strikingly beautiful rural South African l
Stof 2007/05/10 9:02 PM
Ouma se Slim Kind, a brilliant masterpiece Alistair Fairweather should rather be named Alister Mistweather. Like the London weather, his vission is jeopardised by cloud of mist created by his own prejustise. It is clear that Alistair went to the preview with grudge against the Afrikaans culture. Never mind how good the film, he was by forehand planning to write a smelly review (appologies to belle-ombre depot) just because he cannot stand the fact that Afrikaans is realy winning at a rate he cannot handle. Alistair's weak effords to prove that he realy cares about the Afrikaans film industry, will never be taken up seriously. His review reveals his lack of knowledge of the boer life in the 40's. I also smell a big bad jealous monster in his efford. It is clear that he cannot hande the fact that a Afrikaans film grabs away the Kanna-trophy under the noses of the mass produstion effords in his home language. Patriotism is a good thing, but the moment it makes you nasty, then it is serves no purpose in the world. As
Stof 2007/05/10 9:07 PM
Ouma se Slim Kins, a briliant masterpeice part 2 As a Boer, I can totaly and proudly associate with the film's background and will defnitely buy the DVD then it is available. Just one little question that can be a bit itchy to Alistair- Why don't he mention the name of Abrey Poo in his version of the cast? Aubrey is a brilliant BLACK actor who realy does a huge part to make this film such a massive success. Or does he believe what I think he believes..... All my best wishes and appreciation to Gustav Kuhn and his professional team who saw to it that we are blessed with a masterpiece in the film industry which will not easily be equaled in near future. I am not going to use too much space on this site for my reaction, beacuse I am sure there is enough people, able of thinking for themselves, who would also like to help the poor writer back on track. But realy go and have a look at www.kunsnuus.co.za/ouma. There you will see my review on this absolute masterpiece that we were waiting for, for so long.
Not a film critic !! 2007/05/10 9:50 PM
Wow was that a review or a slaughter ? Well what can I say? The 25 distinguished people sitting on the KKNK panel of judges must be all wrong and Alastair must be the only one with a film background and critic sense. Why? Because those 25 people has recently decided to award the film Ouma se Slim Kind with a Kanna Award for the best South African film at the KKNK this year. But what do they know? I’m certain that I would also be irritated and frustrated if I had to sit and watch this film the afternoon before a long weekend while everyone is getting ready to go away for the long weekend I would also not judge the movie objectively. Not sure when you saw the movie Alistair was it also the Thursday afternoon before the long weekend ? But I did not judge the film I just sat there (in Oudtshoorn) and watched this movie as objectively as I could – and no I did not storm out crying. Instead I watched the film to the end and then I went and sit outside (in the heat with a cold glass of wine and I pondered over it). What’s t
Not a film critic !! 2007/05/10 9:55 PM
Wow was that a review or a slaughter ? PART 2 What’s to ponder over you would ask – You see as I left the cinema I overheard a very well known South African film director saying in public to the Film Festival Organiser that this was the best Afrikaans movie he has seen in more that a decade. This director was recently awarded the “Akademie vir Wetenskap & Kuns” Award for his contribution to the South African Film Industry – (Oh shucks he made Afrikaans films….. so his viewpoint is not to be taken seriously I suppose) Afterwards I made it my business to get hold of the Director at the festival. You see for me it is first and foremost about building and advancing our South African Film Industry and not criticising and breaking it down at every opportunity I get. I wanted to speak to him about his film, because yes, I had some questions about the film which was very soon answered by the director. The film in its original form of 117 minutes had to be cut down to 96 minutes because of various demands. Because of a very tight budge
Type your name hereNot a film critic !! 2007/05/10 9:58 PM
Wow was that a review or a slaughter ? PART 3 Because of a very tight budget some scenes could only be shot once. They did not have an extravagant budget like Spiderman 3 had to do the certain scenes more than once. But at least they tried. And in my eyes and the 387 people in the audience at last year’s Apollo Film Festival that voted it the Best Film at the festival he did a good job as a first time director. Oh yes and don’t mind the International Jury at the same festival which decided to award it with the Best Script Award. What do they know anyway?
Salome 2007/05/10 10:20 PM
Local is Lekker O everyone just stop this moaning and groaning. If you read this collum on a regular basis you will know that you should not take this guy seriously at all. Really come on guys for some one that gives Bunny Chow 4 stars and tell you Dont miss this ! Are you going to take that seriously. We should have a poll here on the site for the worst film critic. He might just win
Salome 2007/05/10 10:24 PM
Local is lekker Sorry about the typo !! Should read column not collum. Good thing I'm not a film critic.
Osama Salami 2007/05/11 7:52 AM
That's funny Salome If he's such a bad critic, why do you keep reading his "collums"?
Salome 2007/05/11 8:43 AM
Osama Salami Seems like you don't visit this website to often Osama. I do on a regular basis. When I read a book I start from page 1 and go through till the end of the book. I know there is people that would start at the back page and read towards the front of the book. The same with the movie crits on the web. You start at the top and scroll down to the bottom. That is when you see who is the butcher. Dahhh
KristinP 2007/05/11 9:17 AM
Muce more here than just a movie critic at work. Hi everyone ! I seems that this movie has sparked some debate and that is good. But guys and girls if you look at and read Alistair's review, you wil notice with the first glance that something is not quite right here. He starts of with using a drawing (not the official SK poster) that depicts the Afrikaans movie as somewhat backwards. As for the mushyness and the "sentimental train wreck" part there is nothing we can do for this reviewer. He has to fight his own demons and come to term with it. Maybe a good therapist can help him with that.
Alistair 2007/05/11 9:39 AM
Ahh - you've gotta love South Africa Only here would a filmmaker's friends and crew spend their time personally insulting a reviewer just because they disagree with his opinion. What's wrong Anton Ernst - still upset that I gave Number 10 one star? And KristinP - if you think no one realises you are on the PR team for the movie, then you are dead wrong. As for the KKNK and the Apollo Film Festival panels - I respect their opinions too much to slag them off. But that doesn't mean I agree with them. I can only write what I feel and think, not what I think people want to hear. If that makes me unpopular, then so be it. At least I'm true to myself.
Curious 2007/05/11 11:31 AM
you say it's bad & they loved it? Alistair – as a reviewer – are you in any way involved with the Apollo Film Festival or the KKNK & Kana Awards?
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