Meerkat Maantuig

2018-03-15 17:09
 

What it's about:

Gideonette, a timid and visionary girl, lives with her parents in a small town. Her dad, Gideon, battles daily to allay her fears about the curse of the Gideon de La Reys. When he suddenly dies, her worst fears are realised, and she retreats into a dark world where her imagination runs wild. When her mom packs her off to her grandparents, Gideonette meets Bhubesi, a deaf boy who’s ‘training’ to become an astronaut. While Gideonette’s grandfather builds Bhubesi a moon ship, the brave boy wins her trust, and they embark on a curious wordless friendship that helps her realise that she can't hide from death. When fate hands her a final blow and her newfound strength is tested, she has to decide whether she’s going to let the curse consume her or defy it.

What we thought:

Hanneke Schutte turns the coming-of-age genre on its head with her magical realism fantasy fairy tale, Meerkat Maantuig

Inspired by the novel Blinde Sambok by Riana Scheepers the story follows small town girl Gideonette (Anchen du Plessis) who is plagued by the family curse. 

Everyone in her family named Gideon died from a freak accident at a young age.

She believes that the curse is out to get her, in the form of a dark creature, and after her father dies she retreats into a dark world where she lists all the ways she could die, 400 and something.

Her mom (Hanlé Barnard) who is also battling with depression and ships her off to the family farm to spend time with her grandmother (Rika Sennett) and grandfather (Pierre van Pletzen) who are a bit eccentric. 

There she meets a young deaf boy, Bhubesi (Themba Ntuli) who is training to become an astronaut. The two become friends and Bhubesi’s lease on life encourages Gideonnette to let go of her fears until she suffers another tragic blow. 

The film tackles very dark issues like death, depression, fear and mental issues which the filmmaker has managed to tell in a very child friendly way.

The strength of this film is that the story is told with so much honesty and more importantly it doesn’t shy away from the harsh realities of life. 

The cinematography is beautiful – filmed in Magoebaskloof the rainforest feel added a magical element in which the imagination thrives. This played a crucial part in bringing Gideonette’s fears to life.

The young actors steal the show - Anchen is the typical pre-teen going through a range of emotions and she does so convincingly. 

Themba - despite not speaking - gives a nuanced performance through his gestures, his facial expressions and his body language.

Though mostly aimed for a younger audience Meerkat Maantuig is a film that everyone should watch it will both teach and inspire. 

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