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Breaking through walls of silence

STILTE

DIRECTOR: Darrell Roodt

CAST: Angelique Pretorius, André Frauenstein, Deon Coetzee, Altus Theart, Chris de Clerq

CLASSIFICATION: 10M V

RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes

RATING: ***

STILTE is a curious mix of Meisie and Jakhalsdans, director Darrell Roodt’s two previous Afrikaans films.

All three films definitely showcase his favoured cinematic style – the wide open shots and the emphasis on the link between the people and their environment.

Stilte takes from Meisie the angle of very natural performances from non-actors and a storyline rooted in the Karoo, this time it is the environs of Oudtshoorn. From Jakhalsdans it takes the musical angle, and for its self, Stilte is a romantic drama about loss and acceptance.

It opens with the most overblown of music videos being shot, with Altus Theart hamming it up as a self-promoting music producer who turns out to be quite the pain in the behind.

The story then follows a successful singer on the cusp of great things as she loses everything and retreats to her family’s farm to lick her wounds. Dion’s (Theart ) materialistic nature is in stark contrast to everyone else on the farm.

Antoinette van Wyk (Pretorius) is grieving the death of her parents and rails against God, her family and anyone who crosses her path.

She is literally silent for more than half of the film as she refuses to communicate and it is only when the local pastor, young Peter (Frauenstein) refuses to treat her like an invalid and actually questions her behaviour that she is forced to re-evaluate herself.

Van Wyk stomps around the farm like a petulant child initially, but once she gets her voice back it feels like a less forced performance.

Frauenstein creates a pragmatic, kind-hearted young preacher man, also sometimes given to questioning his own faith.

His conversation with fellow pastor Jacob makes for interesting viewing as Loyd Potts is not an actor; this is really just who he is.

Chris de Clerq and Chante Hinds are solid as Antoinette’s uncle and aunt on the farm – saltof- the-earth kind of people, ready to give her the space she needs.

Ellen Pretorius is sweet as Tannie Miemie, whose house gets painted – again, she is not an actress.

There’s a broad streak of Christian acceptance in your lot as given to you by God cutting right through the film, something that is quite new to Roodt’s film-making, but this is not really being touted as a religious movie.

What is to be expected, though, is the gorgeous cinematography – sweeping shots of sunsets – and you get a feel for the dryness of the earth in that area.

The story arc builds up to teaching Antoinette a life lesson about moving forward with her life, so it is bitter-sweet and terribly moving if you are into inspi- rational kind of movies.

It is just a little story, but told with excellent technical production value and a plot that hangs together with a proper ending (Jakhalsdans just fizzled out as the money ran out, so that was always disappointing).

If you liked… Jakhalsdans…you will enjoy like this.

• WIN! WIN! WIN!

Five lucky readers could each win a stunning hamper to celebrate the nationwide release of Stilte. The hampers, sponsored by African Extracts, consists of various products from their Rooibos skin care range. Readers could either win one of two classic hampers, one of two youth hampers, or an anti-ageing hamper.

To stand a chance of winning, all you have to do is answer this very simple question:

“Who directed Stilte?”

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