In a country where we are bombarded with apartheid stories, it’s always a relief when there are other stories that are told. And that’s not to say that stories about our history are not of the utmost importance, because they are. But it’s always nice to watch something that speaks to another side of us, like Catching Feelings.
Some of you may be thinking that I sound a tad hypocritical. Especially, given the fact that, at the moment, the tide in South African film seems to have shifted towards the telling of romantic comedies. Nonetheless, it still is a relief to shed the political baggage every now and again.
The short and long of Catching Feelings is that it’s a film that’s set in Johannesburg, a city pulsating with contradictions. If focuses on Max, a cynical writer turned English professor and his beautiful wife, whose lives are turned upside down when a celebrated and hedonistic older writer comes into their lives, pushing their relationship to the brink. In the film, Kagiso Lediga takes on the opportunity to be both in front of the camera and behind it. As he mentioned in conversation, this was a challenging but fun exercise for him.
The film fashions itself as a love letter to Johannesburg. It features some beautifully composed shots over Johannesburg and shows her off as I would have pictured her: a woman who is trendy, cool, sophisticated and level-headed, while a little rough around the edges.
The casting is also quite interesting. Respected filmmaker and actor Akin Omotoso plays the best friend to Lediga’s Max. As Joel, we see Omotoso’s less intense side, but also his versatility as an actor. He’s actually quite relatable as the guy next door.