A family's life in the Karoo (a semi-desert area in South Africa) is changed when a travelling circus leaves behind a clown.

Director:

Writer:

Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Hendrik MacDonald
Aletta Bezuidenhout ...
Katrina MacDonald
Ian Roberts ...
Frans
Ellis Pearson ...
Manuel
Jan Ellis ...
Nollie
Liezel van der Merwe ...
Emma MacDonald
Larry Leyden ...
Willem MacDonald
Marthinus Basson ...
Dominee
...
Jan Mol
Regardt van den Bergh ...
Bothma
Ernst Eloff ...
Doctor
Paul Eilers ...
Sergeant
André Rossouw ...
Sakkie
Marko van der Colff ...
Thys
Hennie Oosthuizen ...
Pieta
Edit

Storyline

A family's life in the Karoo (a semi-desert area in South Africa) is changed when a travelling circus leaves behind a clown.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

23 January 1998 (South Africa)  »

Also Known As:

El secreto de la magia  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

South Africa's official entry to the Oscars, in the category of Best Foreign Language Film - a first for a South African feature film. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Haunting and lyrical
27 July 2004 | by (Hereford, England) – See all my reviews

Katinka Heyns is one of South Africa's finest filmmakers, and her 1998 film "Paljas" is an enchanting, if drawn-out, fable of hope overcoming prejudice. Set in the heartland of the Karoo (the lunar semi-desert that sprawls across South Africa's interior) it chronicles the tale of the Afrikaans-speaking Macdonald family whose conservative beliefs are thrown into turmoil when a touring circus pays their isolated village a visit. ("Paljas" is an Afrikaans word that doesn't quite translate into English, but denotes "enchantment".)

Heyns' film is remarkable for its warm yet unaffected simplicity. Paljas is essentially a domestic drama and Heyns assembled a superlative cast of local actors to effect this in a beautifully understated way. Marius Weyers is excellent as the long-suffering, widowed patriarch, and there are some astonishing set-pieces between the family members. The Karoo landscape is beautifully shot and utilized perfectly, as it quietly undulates between forbidding wasteland and Norman Rockwellian heartland.

Although the film has its faults (it would have benefited from some judicious editing) there are moments of pure poetry, and Paljas should be essential viewing for any connoisseur of independent/foreign film. One only hopes that we will be seeing more of Heyns' work in the future, and, indeed, better distribution for this hard-to-come-by screen gem.


9 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
The DVD version(s?) lars-erik-astrom
Discuss Paljas (1998) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?