A Million Colours (2011) Poster

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One of the better South African films
jpfourie16 May 2012
There is a lot to love about this film. So much so that it inspired me to write my first review. The historical aspect brought back strong memories as I'm from the era and lived it. Very accurately portrayed and didn't hold back at all. Perfect cinematography. Two performances of exceptional note. Stelio Savante as the Major is effortless and a scene stealer. Matshepo Malema is magnetic. She draws you in and will break your heart. Strange that she isn't credited on here. The music score although grand at times is very memorable. I didn't understand the editing cuts to black aka a TV movie cutting to a commercial break. And I thought the narration was unnecessary as it reflected exactly what was on screen. Unless that was to educate American and European markets. I rate this a 9 out of 10 and can proudly say it ranks high on the list of South African films.
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A compelling & gripping story well done
stomperrob17 February 2012
A Million Colours is a true story about what became of the two child stars of the 1976 movie "eLollipop", Muntu Ndebele who is black, and Norman Knox who is Afrikaaner (white), set against the backdrop of Apartheid in South Africa. Muntu and Norman become close friends despite this being frowned upon in segregated South Africa. The film takes us through their lives amid the growing violence in the country as their lives intersect and also separate over the years. We see the student uprising in Soweto on June 16, 1976 and the escalating violence that followed.

There is also the story of the romance between Muntu and Sebela (played by Masella Motana, who is uncredited for some reason). Sebela's father forbids her from seeing Muntu and the film shows how their romance plays out during several separations and reunions over the years. Muntu's life becomes a downward spiral of crime and drug addiction and we see how he fights to get his life back in order.

Director/screenwriter Peter Bishai calls the film "a cross between Slumdog Millionaire and Romeo & Juliet". The real Muntu Ndebele was on hand throughout the filming for his feedback on the story. Andre Pieterse who directed eLollipop is the producer of this film which came about when Pieterse was preparing eLollipop for release on DVD and wanted to find out what happened to the stars of that film - when he heard their stories he wanted to commit it to film.

There are no big name stars in the film which works to its advantage as it gives the film a much greater feeling of reality. I happened upon this film last night on the movie channel and cannot recommend it highly enough. It is a gripping and compelling story that takes place during a disturbing and shameful time in the history of South Africa. It does not pull any punches and contains some fairly graphic violence.
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Glorious film
rps-223 February 2012
This is a lovely film. The photography is lovely. The lighting is lovely. The acting is powerful. The story is intense. Set in the last few years of apartheid, it captures the cruel racism of the white South African government, the helplessness of black people and the beauty of the land and its people. Yet it's not good guys and bad guys. There are some very decent whites and some very horrid blacks. Although there are some scenes of ghastly violence --- including the barbaric "necklacing" of a black woman by other blacks --- at no time does the violence seem gratuitous or to be put there for sensationalism or shock value. South Africa was (and still is) a very violent place and this film reflects that graphically. A pity that so few people seem to have watched this film. It is superb by every standard.
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Brutal and heart breaking
billcr125 May 2012
A Million Colours is both a love story and a look at the last years of apartheid. It all begins with Soweto in 1986 and a young man is being beaten by three white police officers. He manages to escape by running through some fields. Ten years earlier, as a little boy, he became famous as a child actor for the film E-Lollipop, which he and a white kid are friends on screen and also developed a good relationship in real life. Muntu and Norman Knox are the famous pair, and circumstances change everything forever.

Muntu arrives at school in a car, bought with money earned as an actor, and as he gets out, his classmates flock around him. He spots a beautiful girl, Sabela, and it is love at first site for both of them. A major obstacle is her father who arranges a marriage to an old Zulu chief with many wives.

They attend a rally supporting Nelson Mandela, and gunfire erupts, and Sabela is shot and wounded. Muntu carries her to a hospital but war breaks out and his old friend Norman is drafted into the army and forced to fight against the black majority. Muntu becomes a reluctant soldier with the Cuban backed communists. He runs away from the militia after a bloody battle and Sabela hears that he was killed. After her father loses his job, she agrees to marry the chief.

Muntu becomes a car thief, working for a criminal group which fight both the apartheid government and each other. The love of his life, meanwhile has displeased the chief, because she is unable to bear children. She is demoted to servant and Muntu tries to win her back, more than once. Four years later, his life has disintegrated and Mandela is finally released from jail and this leads to an interesting ending. A Million Colours has good intentions, but the story is too unstructured for my taste. I will praise the excellent cast, however, for gritty, realistic portrays, most especially Wandile Molebatsi as Muntu and Masello Motano as Sabela. They are tremendous. Another complaint is the soundtrack, which drowns out the dialogue repeatedly. Even with the criticisms, the movie is worth a watch.
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