DIRECTOR: Avie Luthra

CAST: Sihle Dlamini, Jayashree Basavra, James Ngcobo, Mary Twala, Jabu Tshabalala and Vusi Kunene


RUNNING TIME: 100 minutes

RATING: 4 stars

Diane de Beer

It’s a simple yet far-reaching story that grabs right at the heart of so many individual struggles in this country – the little people who slip through the cracks, have no one to turn to, and are, as the story suggests, lucky if they do make it out.

Luthra, the director and scriptwriter, obviously wanted to tell this story because it started out as a short film and then progressed to this final product. But he’s been smart. He has a clever script and found the right people to tell his story. Once you have those two, it gets easier.

In times when many people can’t even afford the basics, if a single person falls away, it has devastating effects, which was what happened to Lucky. His mother dies of Aids and growing up in a remote rural village, he has nowhere to turn to but an uncle whom his mother promised would provide.

As these things often pan out, the uncle (played with just the right veneer of sleaze by Ngcobo) is out to fleece the kid and again he’s on his own. Until he bumps into an old Indian woman who turns away in disgust, yet his persistence wears her down.

It all comes down to the way the story is told, the characters who reach into your soul and keep pounding away, and the simplicity of the whole affair.

South Africa is that kind of place – because of our past and the way we are trying to build a future. It is a country that invites and encourages people to reach out and help, not to stay in their cocoons, but to take note of people out there who don’t have any resources.

Aids is not the driving force here, but still, it’s that reminder of just how many lives are destroyed by this disease that keeps killing people even if the numbers are down and the treatment more available.

The impact of one person dying is often catastrophic, especially on the lives of children.

It is Lucky’s vulnerability, that dogged determination to find someone who cares, the never letting go of his hopes and dreams, that turns the story into something extraordinary. That and the performances by especially Dlamini (Lucky, pictured) and Basvara (Padma, the Indian woman who becomes his protector).

It’s also the honest telling of the story, keeping it simple with the focus on the people, their struggles, their disregard of the hopelessness when something goes wrong and simply tackling each problem as it comes their way. Many of us would have given up, but not Lucky.

How else is he going to honour his mother, her life and eventually his own?

This is storytelling that amplifies the heartbeat.

If you liked… ‘Yesterday’ or ‘Central Station’… you will like this film.