Bradley Olivier and Solomon Cupido deliver one of the best bromance pairings in SA film with ‘Frankie en Felipé’

Bradley Olivier and Solomon Cupido in “Frankie en Felipé”. Picture: Supplied

Bradley Olivier and Solomon Cupido in “Frankie en Felipé”. Picture: Supplied

Published Sep 14, 2023


“Frankie en Felipé” was among several superb local films that premiered at the 11th kykNET Silwerskerm Film Festival recently.

While it was a huge success, it was also a bittersweet celebration as lead actor Bradley Olivier, who shares the producer and screenwriter credits with co-star Solomon Cupido, passed away a month earlier, on July 20.

Before the Q&A session post-screening, a moment of silence was held for Olivier and two other members involved in making the film.

While the release date is yet to be confirmed, it will be made available on DStv BoxOffice.

The comedy, which arguably has one of the best bromance pairings in SA films, will resonate with Mzansi. Think of the Olivier and Cupido as SA’s version of the “Bad Boys” duo, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence.

It also tugs at the heart, with its well-etched characters, as it draws parallels between the worlds of half-brothers Frankie (Olivier) and Felipé (Cupido).

Bradley Olivier and Zane Meas in a scene from “Frankie en Felipé”. Picture: Supplied

The two were torn apart as youngsters when Frankie was taken to an orphanage by his stepdad. Although his mother wasn’t okay with the decision, their financial situation left her helpless to do anything about it.

Several years later, Felipé is still living at home. He has various side hustles going on, one of which is a failed counterfeit perfume venture.

And he is also heavy in debt to the local loan shark, played by Shimmy Isaacs.

The only silver lining for Felipé is seeking out the help of his estranged brother, Frankie, who is engaged to Kim Fortuin (Kim Syster) and is a high-flying advertising executive at his future father-in-law’s (played by Zane Meas) company.

But Frankie’s efforts to get rid of Felipé, who wows everyone with his knack for picking up scents, don’t go according to plan.

And it isn’t long before Felipé ingratiates himself into the lives of the Fortuin family as he is invited to the rehearsal wedding dinner and the wedding, of course.

Before long, the elaborate backstory of how the two know each other becomes messy. Frankie’s future mother-in-law (Ilse Klink) smells something fishy but goes with the flow.

Adding to the drama, Felipé is attracted to Kim’s sister (Bianca Flanders), who is dating a health and yoga-obsessed hunk (Danny Ross), who gaslights her at every opportunity he gets.

Solomon Cupido in a scene from “Frankie en Felipé”. Picture: Supplied

Meanwhile, Frankiehasn’t forgiven their mother for abandoning him and the pent-up emotions spill over when the truth comes out.

The chalk-and-cheese personalities of Olivier and Cupido’s characters contribute to the unfolding chaos. Felipé is, for lack of a better word, uncultured, as demonstrated in a scene where he asks for his sushi to be heated in the microwave.

He is in awe of the lifestyle of the Fortuin family and is like a kid in a candy store at their estate home.

Despite being a rough diamond, his happy-go-lucky personality and brutal honesty make him likeable.

Frankie has a more refined palate. He has a “Keeping up the Joneses” mentality. He is great at his job and he works hard to ensure his poverty-stricken past will remain a distant memory.

By the way, Terence Bridgett makes a delightful cameo as a camp, wine-loving fashion designer.

“Frankie en Felipé” is a romcom that is heart-warming, refreshing and entertaining. Also, it offers a more positive representation of the coloured community, which, in other films, has been more hard-hitting and anchored in gang violence.

Olivier and Cupido make for a dynamic lead duo, with director Marvin Lee Beukes commendably balancing the comedy and drama.

The cast in a scene from ‘Frankie en Felipé. Picture: Supplied

At the Q&A session at the festival, Cupido said: “Bradley and I started writing the story about 3 years ago. We were sitting with Frisco coffee, we had no milk and we needed money.

“And we thought we needed to tell a story that inspires. We said there are so many stories about coloured people. But we wanted to tell a story about coloured people on the other side.”

He continued: “Coloured people that had money, who are rich, intellectual people, who are lawyers … We were debating on who the leading guys would be, who had the looks and who didn’t have the looks. He was Mr Muscle, Denzil Washingon.”

Cupido said they wanted to make a movie that young and old could have a good laugh with and they wanted it to have good music, which they did.

Interestingly, Olivier and Cupido’s friendship goes way back. The ex-Paarl boys were high school mates and they completed their studies together at Tshwane University of Technology.

In an earlier interview, before the festival, Olivier said: “I swear if you asked the guys at school, they would have thought Solomon was going to play Frankie. Solomon was the golden boy, the cool guy. I was the funny guy and when we got bigger, the roles changed.

“Now Solomon is one of the funniest South African actors. I did write many other things about my life into Frankie. So, I’m closer to Frankie than I am different from him. Unfortunately, I just don’t have a BMW!”

He added: “Our company is currently working on four new films. All different genres, but humour is the thread that runs through all of them. We want to give our audience a good time.”

Sadly, Olivier wasn’t able to complete the projects but Cupido will, no doubt, fulfil his wish of giving the audience a side-splitting experience with his future projects.