First Faan Se Trein re-established it as a force to be reckoned with – and now a romantic road-trip explores even more avenues that have been tried in Afrikaans cinema before, though never as successfully as this.
An arrogant young businessman (Botha) finds himself on the road between Johannesburg and Cape Town on a mission to fulfil his dead father’s wishes. On his way he meets a stranded girl (Roberts) in a run-down car and together they discover not only the country and their own pasts, but themselves and love.
Upcoming director Jaco Smit elevates this drama into a joyful celebration of life. He has a fine eye for detail and the ordinary eccentricities that characterise the ordinary Afrikaner. And contrary to so many other Afrikaans comedies that drew a barrage of criticism last year by reverting to common and embarrassing stereotypes, the characters in Pad Na Jou Hart are portrayed with respect, honesty, intelligence and good taste by a director who’s definitely going places.
Roberts has already proved – in previous films like Klein Karoo – that she has an unaffected normality, a natural girl-next-door feel that will resonate with the audience. Although the script and story are not necessarily strong enough for a two-hour running time, the warm, affectionate heart of the film, the unexpected charm of its secondary characters, strong direction and inspiring acting will elevate this film to become a welcome addition to Afrikaans cinema.