DIRECTOR: Linda Korsten
CAST: Marlee van der Merwe, Eugene Jensen, Marno van der Merwe, Terence Bridgett, Annette Engelbrecht, Lizz Meiring, Steve Hofmeyr, Rina Nienaber, Margit Meyer-Rodenbeck
RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes
Eugene Jensen and Marlee van der Merwe.
WITH the flimsiest of storylines, Afrikaans musical Pretville hits the ground running, or rather singing, and never lets up.
Set in a make-believe world that never existed, this is the colourful story of, well, it’s not really so much a storyline as a series of events, that could only happen in Pretville.
This is not the 1950s South Africans lived through – this is Hollywood 1950s of doo wop, rock ’n’ roll and bobby socks. It’s the Afrikaans answer to Hairspray and Grease.
In Pretville everything revolves around the Saturday night dance in the Town Hall. The enmity between the town boys in their black leather jackets and the farm boys working the fields, is worked out on the dance floor. And, when all else fails, someone will break out in song.
The art direction is beautifully handled, and even when the props wobble (unless that girl was waaaay heavier than she looked, and was dancing around a fake fountain) they’re all so colourful and kitsch and it’s just oh so very pretty. The costuming is so Biggie Best of yore and the hairstyles must have put a dent in the Dippity Do bucket.
The cars are Amer-ican and not what local farmers were driving in those years, and good-ness knows there was no integration across the colour bar as the film suggests. In no way, shape or form was a flamboyantly gay, mincing and squealing Terence Bridgett ever going to be the hair-dressing mayor of any plattelandse dorpie.
But, reality impin-ging on a good old sing-along is not the point. This is an Afrikaans musical, and if there’s one thing it has an abundance of, it’s songs. None of them are especially memorable, but they all work for the film. You’re not going to come out of here singing You’re The One That I Want, but you are going to come out singing do-be-do-be-do and in a totally bouncy happy mood.
The musical is subtitled, but you have to really want to watch sacch-arine goodness bound up in more candy sweetness, all couched in un-reality. This takes the words whole-some goodness to a completely dif-ferent dimension and will totally irritate anyone expecting a touch of reality.
If you liked... Liefling... you will lurve this.