So, yeah, you don’t really see me as a connoisseur of South African movies, do ya? Well I’m not…
I can count the number of South African films on one hand, following an industrial accident? Maybe…
You’re relying on me to offer an informed and entertaining review that will encourage you to go and see the movie? Well, let’s see…
FANIE FOURIE’S LOBOLA
So, what we’re looking at is a cross-culture, ensemble cast romantic comedy with the kind of wacky shenanigans you’d expect from Richard Curtis or some other FilmFour Northern-based comedy, but relocated to South Africa. Following the misadventures of Fanie Fourie, an Afrikaans man (Eduan van Jaarsveldt) and Dinky Magubane, a Zulu girl (Zethu Dhlomo) as they fall in love, break down the barriers that stand between them, and overcome tradition to reach their happy ending.
What starts as a dare between two brothers soon explodes into love between Fanie and Dinky, and the movie covers a range of topics, from racism in modern South Africa through to a man wandering around in his pants. Nothing is taken too seriously, but issues are dealt with in a fairly grown up manner. Well, maybe not the man wandering around in his pants. The tradition of the Lobola is discussed and expanded upon, but doesn’t seem to draw a line under whether it is a good or a bad thing. Needless to say, when it closes in on being a serious matter, something funny happens to distract from the frowny grown-up stuff. There’s a fairly large ensemble cast, none of whom I’ve heard of before, although I wouldn’t be surprised if I did hear of some in the future.
A happy, upbeat soundtrack carries the film, although being in a language I don’t understand really doesn’t make me want to rush out to buy the soundtrack. Although I must say, maybe the language barrier got in the end, but the final end credits sing-along is just bloody terrible.
The movie is presented in a mixture of English, Afrikaans and Zulu, with subtitles throughout. Although the usual difficulties of trying to follow comedy over the barrier of subtitles is overcome thanks to the broad comedy, with each character larger than life, but well grounded. Some situations do seem to follow the standard rom-com formula, and the occasional event comes across as predictable or contrived, but all in all the characters and comedy manage to pull it off in a successful mix of cultural commentary, romance and broad laughs.
A perfect little film, for lovers of romantic comedies who crave something a little different to your shenanigans featuring Americans faking cockney accents.
The movie was released on April 22nd, and is available on iTunes by following this link – http://bit.ly/1n8YQiM