Leon van Nierop
1 minute read
7 Mar 2014
9:00 am

Movie Review: Vrou soek boer

Leon van Nierop

"An enjoyable film for the whole family!" It's a superficial advertisement that may draw a vulnerable audience, over-saturated with the Oscar Pistorius trial, away from their television sets.

Lika Berning (left) and Marga van Rooy in Vrou Soek Boer. Pictures: Supplied.

It could just as well have read: “See another dialogue-driven episode of your favourite soapie, this time shot outside the confines of a studio”.

Many vulnerable viewers might flock to see this latest romantic Afrikaans comedy and to tread the same cliché-driven path followed by Afrikaans comedies since the Fifties. The problem is that we are in 2014 and even American romantic comedies have moved on.

The Afrikaans versions remain because they are safe. Cast three good looking people, create a hero and heroine who love to hate each other, throw in a talkative tannie, bring in a robust farmer after 50 minutes to create romantic tension, and you have yet another chapter of the same old story. Perhaps it is understandable that producers are scared to take chances, and that they want to stick to what audiences want: a cupcake with lots of sentimental icing, smiley faces, beautiful small-town scenes and wall-to-wall dialogue.

Recent Afrikaans romcoms, especially Pad Na Jou Hart, have tried to mix the familiar ingredients in a fresh way – and succeeded! But unfortunately this effort takes us back to a place where no character’s motivations have been properly thought through by the scriptwriter and there is barely a sign of structure or a fresh story. “Give audiences only hamburgers and that is all they will want in future,” seems to be the message.

So if you simply want to relive the “good old days” and see the same story told the same way, this is for you. But Afrikaans romantic comedies are now in desperate need of a total overhaul. They need to lose the audience-friendly clichés and reinvent the recipe if the industry is to survive.