Faith Like Potatoes (2006) Poster

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Christian film from South Africa
bkoganbing23 November 2015
This post apartheid film from South Africa concerns a family of white farmers who've been kicked off their land in Zambia and have now settled in the Natal province of South Africa on an abandoned farm there. Even after being warned by some of the unreconstructed Boers to watch out for the native Zulus both Frank Rautenbach and Jeanne Neilson settle there and face a lot of hardships and one unspeakable tragedy. But their faith yields a harvest just like the potatoes they're growing on their land.

Faith Like Potatoes is a Christian film to be sure. But in can be seen by more skeptical audiences without too much complaint. In fact the Mandela and post Mandela South Africa has seen an inclusive government, reconciling even some people that Christians might object to.

I'd recommend this except to the most irreligious in the audience.
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Mundane South African biography about a struggling farmer who turns to God
Wuchakk20 March 2018
RELEASED IN 2006 and directed by Regardt van den Bergh, "Faith like Potatoes" is a drama based on the life of Angus Buchan in the late 70s who moved his family from the political unrest of Zambia to eastern South Africa to start a maize farm. Buchan (Frank Rautenbach) and his family/employees (Jeanne Neilson and Hamilton Dlamini) face many challenges in their new home as Angus eventually feels led by faith to grow potatoes despite a severe drought.

The documentary-like tone is similar to other African autobiographies like "I Dreamed of Africa" (2000) and "Nowhere in Africa" (2001), except with the added faith element. I've never heard of Buchan, but he went on to become a fairly significant South African evangelist (with a TV show). The movie focuses on his humble beginnings, his eventual conversion to Christ and service thereof but, surprisingly, the faith element doesn't even come to the fore until about the halfway point, which is when the film finally gets interesting.

Speaking of which, being based on an autobiography, the story lacks the compelling drive of the typical three-act script in preference for real-life mundaneness. Those other two films had the same issue. Yet this can be refreshing in that the movie just shows the way it was without resorting to exaggeration like, say, Oliver Stone's "The Doors" (1991), which opted for sensationalist (eye-rolling) mythmaking and contains utter fabrications.

Of course critics argue that this movie ALSO conveys mythmaking fabrications and, furthermore, that the theology is contradictory and troublesome. Does it? Is it? I don't think so, but I'm not going to explain because it would take too long and, besides, the answers are in the flick in a subdued way. Watch it, reflect on it and make your own call.

THE MOVIE RUNS 1 hour 56 minutes and was shot in South Africa. WRITERS: Angus Buchan (book) and Regardt van den Bergh (screenplay).

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Some pretty poor acting
0w012 March 2020
The story follows a hot-tempered and irrational man, who uproots his entire family in hopes of finding a better life... The amount of stupid descisions that this main character makes is astounding; picking fights with random strangers and placing himself and his family in danger a bunch of times.

The acting is pretty poor too... I wasn't expecting a Daniel Day Lewis-esque performance or anything, but wow this acting sucks... The people who gave this movie 10/10 on imdb are either bought, or just plain delusional... I'm a Christian myself, but even I know a bad movie when I see it, and though the subject matter of this movie is supposed to inspire people to 'be better', all it did for me was to cringe and regret having watched the movie.
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10 out of 10
fire-5828 December 2011
Wow what a great movie, it pulls on the heart strings and shows what can happen with some faith The acting was real, the acting was great the story was so so good and real, there i said it again So many movies out there have these happy endings and what not but this movie showed real like and heart ache.

I can really relate with the main guy because i struggle with anger at times and it is cool to see it for real in a movie! They did a good job on the area they picked for the film. I like that there were a lot of struggles but he kept trying I think you should really watch this movie Enjoy!
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Evangelistic movie disguised as a drama
diegorodriguez29 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I had the impression the footage was too short for this movie. Several scenes look just like missing extra minutes (e.g. the move between countries at the very beginning, or sudden appearance of the children house). Also, a lot of false clues, absurd scenes which seem to mean something, build something, but at the end yield nothing (the apparently drunk black servant who may look so threatening to a painter household in the middle of the night).

The acting is good, once you take into account the poor script. The three main supporting characters appear lazy or jobless (a policeman, a preacher, a full time housewife), while the starring role looks sort of hyperactive. The black men around seem good people, but completely irrelevant to the story. This is a white plot for white men.

But the most annoying thing of the movie is that there's no warning message at its cover stating that the plot includes miracles, bible lessons and resurrections from a white man in a negros country.

Technically is a good movie, though. So good it could have taken some of the many false clues that otherwise may have made a good film of it.
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Miraculous? Maybe not. But Still a Delightful Surprise
nzallblacks_1223 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
For sure, the producers have brought to bear some simple Biblical truths. And then they expounded on those to create a masterpiece film. Better yet, this film is a wonderful real life testimony to getting to know the universal and heavenly glory that is the, One, True Living God. The journey begins with Faith; matters little if the source is in the form of a tiny mustard seed or of something more common and useful. Like a dusty yet moist but always forever tasty mouth watering spud! I like mine mashed.

But I'm miffed as to why others would come on this site just to spew their vitriol for this film. Makes no sense when the target audience is altogether conspicuously disclosed in the title: FAITH like Potatoes. Guess they can can't help themselves. OK. We get it...

Back to the main points...

This film chronicles the plight of a white family's struggle to carve out an existence in Southern Afrika: plot weaves along nicely. Start to finish. The main character Angus Buchan, and his family fall on hard times. This necessitates selling the farm in Zambia. And then getting out. In a hurry. Taking what little possessions they have including a small stash of money ostensibly the proceeds left over from the sale, Angus begins the Exodus. Quickly he discovers a trail. It heads due south. More important, they'll steer free and clear of Zambia.

And Angus doesn't stop until the Peugeot wagon reaches the Republik: South Afrika. There he does what he knows best. He immediately buys another farm. Thus setting him and his family up for me to quote the old adage: History does repeat itself! The setting now is the bushveldt. They don't even have living quarters. An old travel trailer is the sole item available for shelter. It has to do even though it looks like squalor.

Now thoroughly ensconced in the new wilderness, Angus, begins the arduous task of tilling ground so that he can break bread each evening with his family. Although the going is tough, he enlists the help of the local natives. Some he is endeared to. Others are fired. Almost immediately. But Angus plows ahead.

The local South Africans are all too soon enamored with the transplanted ex-Rhodie Scot. They take him to the inner sanctum of the town's life as one of their own. But, Angus takes to drinking. A lot! He's unhappy; confides all his miseries to an understanding wife. She though can't handle his moods.

Then one bright shining Sunday morning the whole family winds up sitting in the front pews of the Methodist Church. Now hogtied, Angus hears first hand a testimonial of a recent 'conversion'. The South African oke spoke in earnest. I believed him. Not Angus though. He can't handle the truth; he heads straight to the ladies bar; he consoles himself much in the brandy; even shares his miseries with the town's policeman, who, is sympathetic and is in much need of company himself. The two bond.

At that point, there's just enough foreshadowing that suggests that God has other plans. A church elder attests to that same sentiment. His candor speaks aloud. "I believe God is tugging at your heart. Angus, you're a good man." And he, er, God was right.

Thereafter, Angus though unwittingly begins pondering the existence of God. He does this mainly while lounging amongst the corn stalks. Seriously, right then I was concerned for Angus' safety; hoped that those lingering, sneaky puff adders obeyed God's word too. No worries. Out of the blue, the epiphany light shone down....

Overall, this film despite it's low budget was better than I expected. The acting is superb. The disparate characters all fit the plot. And the cinematography though digital does deliver some breathtaking views of the Suid Afrikan bushveldt. And of course, the message was that Faith is the first step to know God. If you took that leap then you soon learned that the next step was equally important: Trust in the Lord. Angus did. Even when his mates told him that he had eaten too much mielie meal. But what did they know...

Now it's entirely apropos that I thank all those who helped make this film happen; that in itself is a miracle. One can only hope that there are more Christians out there. Just like you. Who in the blink of an eye would do the same; stand in the breach for the Faith.

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brlfrndz11 November 2018
Faith-based movies tend to get a bad rap for the qualities that they lack compared to secular films, so what's more important? The movie, or the message? There are movies out there that have great performances, terrific casting, excellent cinematography, a good story, and well-written script, but are morally bankrupt with not an ounce of emphasis on personal integrity or honorable qualities.

Then there are films which have poor acting, miscast actors, bland cinematography, a competent story, and a jagged script, but they have a lot more to offer a person in terms of value and virtue that's actually applicable to life. So the divide between the realms of secular films and faith-based films is clear.

Fortunately, "Faith Like Potatoes" is a film possesses the best of both worlds. It's got a great message and tells a real story, without being so far off in to the distance that it isn't good, as the main character is a man who begins flawed but grows in to someone much more mature in the end. A lot of the credit would have to go to the acting because the work was put in, delivering believable performances, while the film on a story level could actually be unpredictable at times, even having the self-awareness to recognize the oddity within the title. The way it's filmed isn't spectacular, but it's one of the better one's I've seen from independent Christian film-making. It's inspiring, touching, and well-made enough for average viewers to actually enjoy.

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I had to leave half way through ...
GNUflakes5 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I must admit that I only saw about half of the movie. But that was enough. What started out as a somewhat dull story about a farmer and his family relocating to South Africa and starting over from scratch, suddenly turned into bible class.

We see a family being torn apart by frustration and failures with the man of the house driven to the brink of reason. Then one day, they are invited to church where Angus has a nervous breakdown and embraces Jesus. From then on, suddenly everything starts to work out. Now we see Angus lying around in the cornfields. We see him summoning rain during a runaway bushfire ....

... and when he starts resurrecting the dead, I just thought it was enough.

To put it frankly: If you are not a Christian and don't want to become one, it's a waste of time and money.

End of story.
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just not enough "child gets run over by tractor " movies out nowdays !
dancing_infidel15 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
o.k. , basically , if you believe that your young son getting crushed & brutally killed in a tractor accident would be a GOOD thing & that he would be MUCH happier that way . . . then , by all means , run out & rent this piece of **** - one of the very few movies , in my whole life , that i have quit watching in the middle of because it's "message" was so sickening -

the "hero" raises a complete stranger from the dead ( RIIIGHT ! ) but then when he accidentally kills his friend's son , the same result just can't be repeated ( WONDER WHY ? ) and then when a local townsperson brings up this seeming inconsistancy , they are disdainfully put down as being "mean" -

possibly the most IDIOTIC movie i have ever seen !
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gbezuidenhout20 April 2007
I am only 30, so I do not have a huge amount of films to talk about, but I have to say, I have never been as touched by any film, as I have been by this one! Francois Rautenbach impressed me so much! His performance was absolutely astounding! It is a pity that films with Christain themes tend to fade in the light of large Hollywood movies, but if you give them a chance, you will find a heart and spirit, that few big budget movies can ever create! The cinematography is amazing, and the music is like silk. What more could a movie goer ask for than brilliant acting, brilliant cinematography and brilliant music? It might be a South African tale, but it is more a story of how one man finds God in a world where he cannot find anything...his life was as dry as the barren land he tried to farm, and with a little faith in the Lord, his life, like his farm, become a place where great things can take form! So, no matter who you are, or where you live, this film will touch you and teach you that faith can move mountains.
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Have you ever wondered what a Pro-Apartheid movie looks like?
loberant2 October 2018
Well then this movie is for you! If you ever wanted to vindicate your internal racism and need to believe that black people are lazy and need to have White Christians dominate them then you should watch this feel good movie for the person who just likes to kick back and relax while wearing a white hood.
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Love True Stories
NatBoy3 June 2020
If you like true stories this is a great one. If you don't like miracles, don't bother.
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Technical critique of a propaganda film
LuckyStriker24 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I'll rather not comment on the plot or motivations of the film. Suffice it to say that the film is aimed at religious (specifically Christian) denominations. Nothing wrong with that, it should be encouraged, rather than avoided.

The first thing that caught my eye was the use of digital filming. African landscapes and lighting is particularly suited for real film emulsions and to see it spoiled by cheap digital footage was a real disappointment. The colour was dull and the digital artefacts are very obvious. I don't want to dwell on the poor film quality so I'll move on.

The acting was particularly cringe worthy. Every time Casper Badenhorst started to speak I wanted to stick popcorn in my ears hum Sarie Marais. Francois Rautenbach and Matthew Roberts weren't bad and I could actually feel real empathy with their characters. Unfortunately the rest of the cast were hollow cardboard cut-outs. Richard van den Berg was particularly revolting. While the lead character was giving a particularly heart felt confession in his 'Green Cathedral' we had to endure the Mr. van den Berg slobbering on a piece of fruit and going "mm, mm, um, ja" before ripping off a corn cob and scribbling in the sand like some prophet.

But the thing that shocked me most of all was the graphic depiction of a child suffering. Several audience members gasped and wept achingly when a small boy was run over by a tractor and started coughing up blood straight into the camera lens. The broken posture of the child was particularly upsetting. A little girl sat in front of me and I dreaded what went through her mind. When my wife started to cry I got very angry and lost the last bit of respect I had for the film. I felt the director had dealt a very low blow by using such a gruesome visual tool to advance his own religious agenda.

Unfortunately this film can never appeal to everyone since it excludes all who do not share a particular church's view. It is a great film for showing at church or prayer groups but technically and visually this film is one of the worst I have seen from South Africa. It should have been screened on television on a Sunday evening only.
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From a "movie" perspective Warning: Spoilers
I have no doubt that Faith Like Potatoes changed many lives in South Africa (I would like to believe for the good). From a (Christian) spiritual perspective, the movie was a huge success. The intention of the movie was to change lives and I think it greatly achieved that. My Vote for Value: 10/10

However, it is still a movie. And there I give it a 4/10. I was not impressed with the screenplay. 1) It was too long. I would completely cut the part where the boy was killed. Yes, it was a major event in the character's lives, but it killed the movie.

2) There were many senseless scenes. For example, in one scene Angus' wife was sitting at night, painting. They had the perfect suspense- building scene. She heard a sound. A savage? Murderer? No! One of the farm workers just came to tell her that her husband's a good man. No sense in having that scene.

Acting was mediocre to very bad, not convincing.
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Sean Cameron Michael
film-fan-usa27 April 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I was fortunate to get this film as a present on DVD. And wow, what a movie. Frank Rautenbagh's acting as Angus is wonderful, while Jean Wilhelm's performance is a little weak, however, this could be due to the writing of the character in the script - perhaps not having enough room for development. Sean Cameron Michael as Fergus, Angus' brother, who's little son is killed in a tragic accident, is just brilliant. His performance is one of the most moving portrayals I've seen on the big screen in a long time. An excellent move on behalf of the producers to get him on board on the project. Van den Bergh's cinematography is breath taking - awesome locations, while the music too fits perfectly. There could have perhaps been more character development in the relationship between Angus and Fergus, however, I suppose due to time constraints this may have been cut. Well worth a watch.
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The real Agnus
Riddickulous20 November 2006
I have expected some negative comments on this movie, but the last views seems like mere attacks of hatred. I can tell you that Agnus is as true in his words as the Bible are the Words of God. He is humble and have a heart for people, there is no boasting or searching for fame. He regularly have sermons in Hopefield in the Swartland and miracles is an everyday part of life there just as it is in mine and every other person with a personal relationship with God.

The miracles in the movies are easily believable and so is the whole story. I know many people who have had similar life experiences and had a turnaround even more dramatic. I can see how many will scoff at this, but that won't change a thing. God would love to bring you the same riches and glory, but only if you are willing to risk everything in life that you are holding on to so dearly. Its absolutely worth it, God will give you more than you ever had, you will never be needy again!
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A bold inspirational delight!!!
user-72034 November 2006
I went into Faith Like Potatoes expecting to see a below average movie with shoddy acting and the typical "beat-around-the-bush", "lets-not-step-on-toes" storyline. Yet I got quite the opposite!!! The performances of Frank Rautenbach and Hamilton Dlamini were especially astounding and had me eagerly awaiting their next appearance. The setting is really beautiful with good cinematography to boot; what really impressed me though was the boldness of this film in stating what they believe and not beating around the bush or making any attempt at "sugar coating"! I really recommend that you see it, it gives one pleasant respite from all the gloom in most movies and will inspire one to reach for greater heights in all aspects of life! Enjoy!!
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Putting miracles on the screen instead of movie magick
imdb-149828 November 2006
It was wonderful to see this movie, a truly well filmed, well presented film that has high standards of cinematography and a well paced and well written storyline. Sheer dedication of raw emotion coming through in the acting also makes this movie brilliant to watch. It doesn't shy away from issues political, social, religious or scenes that are horrific to see. A story about a man who knows of a God but doesn't really know God. It is a great film. A miracle on the screen. A truly great film amongst many rotten ones. Faith like potatoes.. The name really makes sense after you have seen the film.

To all who were part of making this film, Godbless and may you create even more films.


Suzao Media
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A lot better than expected
jerusha-520 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Having been given tickets to the premier of "Faith" at the mission where it all took place, I went with very little expectation. Although the film is not brilliant, it is certainly not bad. Some of the cinematography and scenic shots were truly beautiful and the story and acting were heartfelt. Frank Rautenbach's performance seemed to be drawn from every reserve he possessed. I felt that Jean Wilhelm (Jill Buchan) was a little weak and overwhelmed by Rautenbach's sheer effort. It almost felt like she was trying to retain a sense of detached dignity. The scenes following Angus's nephew's accidental death were a little too long and drawn out and detracted from the tragedy. However, Hamilton Dlamini was wonderful as Simeon. Also, it was great to hear real Zulu on screen and enjoy its subtle humor. The scene where Angus chased off Isaac and Simeon after discovering the crashed tractor was a real giggle. All in all, a sterling effort that shows a lot of promise.
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Below average Christian genre biography
prp-616 October 2006
"Potatoes" is nothing more than a publicity vehicle for yet another televangelist; this time with a 'miracle-farmer' angle. With a cast drawn from local soap operas, the film proceeds horizontally, and fails in its credibility to portray Angus Buchan as a heroic figure. The Christian fundamentalist undertones reveal it to be not a film, but comfort food to be gorged by the insecure lower-middle class who revel in the likes of faith healing. The audience can only wince at the director and actor's combined efforts at on-screen emotion. Its only merit is the scenery of the location in southern Africa but even this is undermined by amateurish cinematography.
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Send it back to Hell
prp-78 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
You need to have a tractor accident yourself (some brain damage would help) to enjoy this ''movie.'' The lead actor cannot doesn't know the difference between acting and melodrama and the lead actress is more wooden than a crucifix.

If you're the kind of person who falls for the 'growing leg trick' and believes in people coming back from the dead, you're in for a treat because 'Potatoes' just oozes with that small-town Bible belt brand of evangelism.

Everyone else can see straight through the movie and through Angus Buchan as another nobody making a name for himself through fraudulent faith healing.
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The reality of our Awesome God
pineconester6 November 2006
This movie is definitely for the Christian viewer, someone who believes in God and acknowledges Him as Lord. It is a beautifully moving story about redemption and grace as seen in real life situations that people face every day. This is a movie without the glamor and glitz of a big budget Hollywood production, but without losing any of the emotion and simplicity which is so real to those who believe in God. A definite must see for strong at heart. Frank Rautenbach's portrayal of Angus Buchan is realistic and artful, capturing both the dramatic and intense moments of salvation and sin. Faith like potatoes could be offensive to the sinful and lost, those trapped in the arrogance of their own sinful desires.
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tommygallagher7 November 2006
A faith inspiring film.

People are searching for answers and this shows how to find them. Watch this film with an open mind and it could change your life.

The film is well produced, well acted and has a good script.

The one criticism of it is it's pace which feels a bit "African" by which I mean slow. But it is an African film so we can't complain to much.

A fine piece of work, that's totally based on fact, even if the events that unfold seem "unbelievable" and hard to grasp.

Franky does a good job of portraying the farmer, Angus, who's life the film is about.

Really worth watching, stick out the pace and you will be rewarded
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Magic or miracle?
videoboff9 November 2006
I'm sure those of you who have been fortunate enough to watch this film have found it very touching and at times painfully honest. Faith Like Potatoes centers around the building of faith as something tangible and real - like a potato. There is no hiding the fact that this is a film with very strong Christian content so be prepared to be exposed to the truth of Jesus! The film may not be outstanding from the acting and screenplay side, but it more than makes up for this with its emotion and intensity. I found myself empathizing throughout as I have had first-hand experience of African farm life and the lifestyle and people in South Africa. I think it will be hard for someone who does not understand these facets of Africa to grasp the imagery and emotional tools used in the film; nevertheless I think that this film will provide every person with their very own experience that will keep them thinking about it long after the credits have stopped rolling.

If at all possible try to get hold of Angus Buchan's book by the same name. It is a must read! If anything, the book and/or the film will change the way you see your spiritual life and open your eyes to a new way of thinking that is not only exciting, but fulfilling. A great movie!!
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Yes, miracles are unbelievable
mailstel16 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This film does not deserve the negative feedback it's been getting from (non-Christian)viewers.

Yes, the Christian content is strong, and that was the intent. Angus experienced miracles in his life and this is usually something that appears to be impossible or outrageous, hence the term "miracle".

If you've seen Frank Rauntebach's acting in 7e Laan (not too great), you'll agree he is very good and in his element in this film, especially during the prayer scene when fighting the fire, and the hospital scenes. And if you've ever worked/lived in rural South Africa, you'll recognize and appreciate the many small moments in the movie that will be missed by many!

There are a few weak points, but all in all it's an enjoyable, solid story with a good, positive message. SOmething that we need.

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