Thursday, January 12, 2012

DVD Review -- Life, Above All -- Get the Tissues Ready...

Genre: Drama, Foreign
Official Site:
Director: Oliver Schmitz
Cast: Khomotso Manyaka, Lerato Mvelase, Harriet Manamela, Keaobaka Makanyane, Aubrey Poolo
Run Time: 106 minutes
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Just after the death of her newly-born sister, Chanda, 12 years old, learns of a rumor that spreads like wildfire through her small, dust-ridden village near Johannesburg. It destroys her family and forces her mother to flee. Sensing that the gossip stems from prejudice and superstition, Chanda leaves home and school in search of her mother and the truth. LIFE, ABOVE ALL is an emotional and universal drama about a young girl (stunningly performed by first-time-actress Khomotso Manyaka) who fights the fear and shame that have poisoned her community. The film captures the enduring strength of loyalty and a courage powered by the heart. Directed by South African filmmaker Oliver Schmitz (Mapantsula; Paris, je t-aime), it is based on the international award winning novel Chanda's Secrets by Allan Stratton.

My Thoughts:

This film was truly inspiring, and one that evoked deep human emotions.  I went through an entire box of tissues watching this movie, and was moved from start to finish.  The film, set entirely in South Africa, centers around a 12-year old girl, Chandra, who assumes the role of caretaker, as she tries to hold her family together, after her baby sister dies.  Even though she has a mother and father, who should be providing a nurturing and caring event, she can't rely on them, as her mother is overcome with so much grief due to her loss, as well as dealing will illness; and, Chandra's father is an alcoholic.  With the help of her neighbor, Mrs. Tafa, Chandra is able is care for her two younger siblings. 

One of the toughest scenes to watch was when Chandra had to go and pick out an inexpensive coffin for her baby sister, who had just passed. No child should ever have to do this?  And, with two young daughters of my own, I couldn't imagine this for them.

Throughout this heartwarming story, the main characters are plagued by rumors about AIDS, as being the family's real problem.  But, Chandra rises above this and truly defies the odds.  This drama had me on the edge of my seat, all while rooting for Chandra to rise above adversity, as she was portrayed as a strong-willed young lady.  With a difficult storyline to watch, viewers' emotions will be brought through the ringer -- from sadness to joy at the ending -- you will truly enjoy this remarkable and poignant movie.

Disclosure:  I was sent a copy of this DVD from the vendor in order to write up an honest review.  The views above are mine and mine alone.

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