After the success of Otelo Burning in 2012, director Sara Blecher brings us yet another story of a young South African trying to find herself in a country still grappling with the wrongs of the past. Among other successes, Otelo Burning was taken to the No Borders Independent Filmmaker Project in New York and was chosen for the IFP Independent Film Narrative Labs in 2011.
Fulu Moguvhani stars as Ayanda, an ambitious mechanic reviving her late father’s garage, the only place she feels close to him. Along the way she finds solace in the arms of David (OC Ukeje), a Nigerian immigrant who’s fled Nigeria for better opportunities in South Africa only to face xenophobic attacks from the community and police.
We also get to see the complicated relationship Ayanda has with her widowed and still grieving mother, played by Nthanti Moshesh (star of local series such as Home Affairs and Scandal).
Ayanda’s journey of self-discovery and desire to hold her family together is told through beautiful and lively cinematography, which is accompanied by colourful graphic visuals. But Fulu’s performance does not impress. This might be her first feature film, but there are too many scenes in which her acting reminds you of her character Anzani on e.tv soapie Scandal, especially during emotional scenes with Nthanti and renowned actor Kenneth Nkosi, who plays Zama, the friend of Ayanda’s father.
The actor who really shines is Jafta Mamabolo, cast as Ayanda’s troubled younger brother. I do not want to give away the scene, but there is a brilliant moment in which he confronts Zama. It was the highlight of the movie for me because he was able to show the full emotion of his disappointment and pain.
And I think the movie was too long at 1 hour and 45 minutes, there were scenes that just dragged on. Still the film, which opens at cinemas October 2, has the potential to be a success at the box office, and give you something to talk about over the weekend.
Watch the movie’s trailer below: