7.1/10
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9 user 77 critic

Life, Above All (2010)

Le secret de Chanda (original title)
PG-13 | | Drama | 11 March 2011 (South Africa)
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A touching mother-daughter relationship that reflects the modern South Africa.

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(screenplay), | 1 more credit »
6 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Khomotso Manyaka ...
Chanda
Keaobaka Makanyane ...
Esther
Harriet Lenabe ...
Mrs. Tafa (as Harriet Manamela)
Lerato Mvelase ...
Lillian
Tinah Mnumzana ...
Aunt Lizbet
Aubrey Poolo ...
Jonah
Mapaseka Mathebe ...
Iris
Thato Kgaladi ...
Soly
Kgomotso Ditshweni ...
Dudu
Rami Chuene ...
Aunty Ruth
Jerry Marobyane ...
Mr. Pheto
Tshepo Emmanuel Nonyane ...
Mr. Lesole
Johanna Refilwe Sihlangu ...
Mrs. Lesole
Vusi Muzi Given Nyathi ...
Mr. Nylo
Patrick Shai ...
Dr. Charles Chilume
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Storyline

In the dusty small town of Elandsdoorn, a South African township not far from Johannesburg, life is simple and serene. A prevailing sense of deep pride tightly bonds together the entire community - but beware to those who step out of line ... 12-year-old Chanda is a hardworking promising young student with a bright future, but her life changes dramatically when her baby sister unexpectedly dies. Heartbroken, Chanda's mother, Lillian, in turn becomes severely ill. Her stepfather drowns himself in alcohol, leaving the young girl to take care of her two smaller siblings. Meanwhile, the formerly friendly neighbors become increasingly distant and gossip spreads. "Auntie" Tafa does what she can to help by getting Lillian to leave town, but not even "Auntie" is immune to the cloud of fear filtering across Elandsdoorn. Suspecting that the community's irrational ostracism has to do with her mother's illness and the death of her baby sister, Chanda demands answers but is met with stubborn ... Written by Bavaria International

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material and some sexual content | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

11 March 2011 (South Africa)  »

Also Known As:

A Vida, Acima de Tudo  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$13,788 (USA) (15 July 2011)

Gross:

$132,960 (USA) (11 November 2011)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Initially Slack But Ultimately Deeply Moving Drama
15 December 2012 | by (Watertown, Mass.) – See all my reviews

It takes quite a while for the central conflict (and hence themes) to emerge in this story of a 12-year old African girl and her family. For a while, it seems to be one of those movies in which the protagonist is challenged by a series of apparently unrelated hardships -- misery for its own sake -- and hence it touches the viewer less than it might. Once the story takes shape, though, it becomes very powerful. It is absolutely worth experiencing the seemingly episodic first half to get to the film's payoff. Recommended, and highly so if you are interested (as I am) in the struggle between the rational, modern worldview and the religious. (7/10 for me, means B+, highly recommended).


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