The Story of an African Farm

2006-03-30 12:41


The 1870's - South Africa. Life is normal at the farm on the slopes of a Karoo Kopje. Tant Sannie (Karin van der Laag) looks after her charges, the sweet Em (Anneke Weidemann) and the independent Lyndall (Kasha Kropinski), with a strict Biblical hand - as was Em's father's dying wish.

Gentle Otto (Armin Mueller-Stahl), the farm manager, runs the farm and cares for Waldo, his son. Waldo (Luke Gallant) is bright, and busy building a model of a sheep-shearing machine that he hopes will make them all rich.

Things change when the sinister, eccentric Bonaparte Blenkins (Richard E. Grant), with his bulbous nose and chimney pot hat, arrives on the scene. The children's lives are suddenly disrupted by this bombastic Irishman who claims blood ties with Wellington and Queen Victoria and gains uncanny influence over the girls' gross stupid stepmother, Tant Sannie.

As the story of Lyndall, Em and Waldo unfolds to its touching end, we learn not merely of a backwater in colonial history, but of the entire human condition.

What the critics are saying:

"Most of the performances are very good, one or two even delightful. Richard E Grant is on comfy ground as the sleazy Blenkins... But it is the delicious performance by Karin van der Laag as Tant Sannie that alone is worth the price of admission."
- Derek Wilson, IOL

"Lovers of South African history and landscape shouldn't miss this. It is a great lovesong to the Karoo and a homage to an earlier way of life."
- Jocelyn Newmarch,

"...I felt a bit wobbly throughout, recognising the gorgeousness of all our funny, fabulous, vigorous locals. Nor was I the only one at the end actually to applaud a movie."
- Stephen Gray, ZA@Play

After a decade of struggle local film-maker Bonnie Rodini has managed to get her version the classic Olive Schreiner novel onto the silver screen. The result is, by all accounts, a rousing success.

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