DIRECTOR: Katinka Heyns

CAST: Marius Weyers, Dawid Minnaar, Elize Cawood, Cobus Rossouw, Sandra Kotze, Anneke Weideman, Kaz McFadden


RUNNING TIME: 119 minutes

RATING: 4 stars (out of 5)

Theresa Smith

AN AFRIKAANS drama, the well-edited Die Wonderwerker is a welcome return to the world of feature film-making for director Katinka Heyns.

The film tells of an encounter between Afrikaans poet Eugene Marais (Minnaar) and the Van Rooyen family on their farm Rietfontein, as he makes his way to Nylstroom.

Sick with malaria, Marais ends up staying for quite a while on the farm, where he falls in love with the family’s adopted daughter, the young Jane Brayshaw (Weideman). The farmer’s wife, Maria (Cawood), falls in love with Marais, but soon discovers his addiction to morphine.

Just as Marais experimented with hypnotism, Minnaar goes for a quietly mesmerising, internalised kind of character, who beguiles Maria and Jane for different reasons.

The film ably captures the many fascinating aspects of this historic character, and Minnaar creates a fully realised person.

It is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea since it deals very much with the Afrikaner heartland – that ineffable sense of heritage as it pertains to poets like Marais and his relationship with the land, its people and also, in his case, the animals.

If you liked... ‘Die Storie van Klara Viljee’ or ‘Ouma se Slim Kind’... you will like this.