Faan (Willie Esterhuizen) lives in a small Karoo town with his father, and his housekeeper, Truia (Anel Alexander). He's a little slow and a little confused a lot of the time, but for the ...
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Die Wonderwerker tells the story of Eugène Marais, a famous Afrikaans writer, poet and researcher. The story focuses on the few months he spends on the Van Rooyen's farm, where he falls in love with the 19-year-old Jane Brayshaw.
Faan (Willie Esterhuizen) lives in a small Karoo town with his father, and his housekeeper, Truia (Anel Alexander). He's a little slow and a little confused a lot of the time, but for the most part he's harmless, except when he's being teased by the local school boys, which seems to be happening more and more frequently. During the last teasing episode Faan accidentally runs into the Doctor's (Deon Lotz) wife, Beatrice (Nicola Hanekom), a woman who was raised in Pretoria, but now lives in this one horse town because of a secret she and her husband have to hide. This confrontation between Faan and Beatrice causes Faan to become very interested in Beatrice, especially when her blouse rips during the encounter. Beatrice has no interest in even knowing this individual exists, until she discovers that he, along with his father, own some antiques that were passed down from father to son for years, including a very valuable violin, so starts her plan to get her hands on the goods, ...Written by
This film is very well made. It has excellent cinematography and has very good performances by some of the most talented South African actors. I believe the story is true to its time and setting with typical characters for a small South African town at the time.
It is a deep story about honest innocence opposed to people wearing masks. It is about loyalty, stereotypes, prejudice, community, acceptance, priorities and redemption.
All of this does not make it a pleasant film to watch, though. The film explores the beauty and the dark side in people and raises difficult questions about what we base our decisions on.
Overall I found this a very depressing film that wallows in an "Afrikaner struggle" mentality. The only emotional appeal that the film has is that it tries very hard to evoke pity from the viewer - pity for the prejudices that Faan faces as a handicapped person and pity for his father who, as a struggling manual laborer is up against the threat of mechanization. Unfortunately I believe that pity serves rather badly as the sole golden thread that's supposed to keep me glued to a movie screen.
If you enjoy art-house films that explore the darker side of the human psyche and if you enjoyed a film like "Die Wonderwerker", then you'll enjoy this film. If you are looking to be entertained, though, you might need to look a bit further.
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