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Roepman (2011)

Tells the story of a 1966 railway community, told through the eyes of an eleven year old boy, called Timus.


Paul Eilers


Piet de Jager (screenplay), Salmon de Jager (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
1 win & 7 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Loots Paul Loots ... Timus Rademan
John-Henry Opperman John-Henry Opperman ... Joon
Deon Lotz ... Abram Rademan
Rika Sennett Rika Sennett ... Ada Rademan
Andrew Thompson Andrew Thompson ... Hein
Lida Botha Lida Botha ... Ouma Makkie
Beáte Opperman ... Rykie Rademan (as Beaté Olwagen)
Eddie de Jager Eddie de Jager ... Braam Rademan
Desiré Gardner Desiré Gardner ... Erika Rademan
Petru Wessels Petru Wessels ... Tant Rosie
Kholeka Dakada Kholeka Dakada ... Gladys
Kate Thumbiran Kate Thumbiran ... Goolshan
Paul Lückhoff Paul Lückhoff ... Harry Gouws
Isabella Mostert Isabella Mostert ... Marie Gouws
Andea de Jager Andea de Jager ... Melinda Gouws


Based on the Jan van Tonder novel with the same title. It tells the story of a 1966 railway community, told through the eyes of an eleven year old boy, called Timus. Timus and his family are trapped within the structural violence caused by the government and the church at the time. An unlikely hero, Joon, often appears to save Timus and these acts of kindness is seen by Timus as miracles. Timus tells the story of Joon and also his own coming of age and loss of innocence and how Joon tries to give a little of that lost innocence back to Timus. Nobody shares this point of view with Timus, Joon however goes on to save this whole community at the end. It is a story with unforgettable characters and it combines the magical world of childhood beautifully with the realistic world we live in. Written by Salmon de Jager

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Did You Know?


Director Paul Eilers also plays the "dominee" (minister). See more »

User Reviews

Unexpectedly deep and serious
1 October 2014 | by k_karavaiSee all my reviews

Roepman is a drama film, based on the novel of modern Afrikaner writer and reporter Jan van Tonder. The title, which could be translated as The Knocker-up, means a profession, which existed in the times, when people usually didn't have alarm clocks, and had to be roused by a special person, so they could get to work. But since this word is not in common usage nowadays, the official English title is Stargazer.

As we are being told about the meaning of this word, Joon the Knocker-up wakes the family of Rademan, which live in a 1960s railway workers' settlement in South Africa, and the story begins. Told through the eyes of an eleven-years old boy called Timus, it focuses on two intermingled aspects – the collapse of the family, caused by harsh actions of father Abraham, an orthodox Protestant and a supporter of apartheid régime, and local troubles in depressed community. Timus's sisters turn against father, which tries to compel them to live by strict religious rules, the boy himself is harassed by a local mobster, and punished by his father for making up tales, and walleyed Joon the Knocker-up ('he would be staring at the sky, even if he weren't walleyed, because he is the only one, who see the heavens') tries to protect the boy and to bring peace to the neighbourhood, but clashes with a local macho. Of course, out of so many tense moments some tragedy must arise by the end of the movie.

Although the plot develops during the apotheosis of apartheid, the movie, unlike many other modern South African films, practically doesn't mention it. The relations between Whites and Blacks is much more friendly, than among Whites themselves, and one of the most effective scenes in the film is when a black handmaiden cries at the news of the assassination of PM Hendrik Verwoerd, the main architect of the racial segregation in the RSA, polishing his portrait and calling him compassionately 'Dr. Foorfoor'.

The cast, though consists of local, practically unknown worldwide, actors, does show a good deal of believable acting, resembling living people of that time and land, with their real fears, faults, and ideals.

It's certainly not the movie to spent a pleasant evening with, but if you are looking for something serious, melancholic, and in an unusual setting – it's your choice.

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South Africa



Release Date:

20 May 2011 (South Africa) See more »

Also Known As:

The Callman See more »


Box Office


$1,400,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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