Leon van Nierop
2 minute read
13 Sep 2013
6:00 am

Blowing his own horn

Leon van Nierop

How good to report that here is a film for all ages that doesn't try to be politically correct or address any contentious issues, nor drag in apartheid or the difficulties of the past with it.

It is the innocent story of a young boy named Felix (Mabasa) who finds himself in a privileged school in the Cape. His obstacles to success are plentiful. He wants to be a great saxophonist like his dad and he longs to belong and find an identity, but above all, he misses the unconditional love of his mother. So Felix tries his best to create his own music his way, and while he finds acceptance in his school, his family is a different matter.

This warm-hearted, naive boy (a great, natural performance by Mabasa) needs to grow up fast before his 14th year is over if he wants to be someone special, excel in his schoolwork, succeed in sports and play the saxophone. But in the mean time he has to make do with his best friend – an overweight, awkward boy who protects him from the school bullies, and indirectly brings him closer to his mother. And he must maintain good relationships with his teachers teachers.



Teens have recently complained that most of their prescribed books and films address issues while they long for entertainment, and to be portrayed as ordinary kids trying to cope with the everyday stresses of growing up. This unpretentious movie succeeds in that area. Not that it is a superficial whitewash or phony portrayal of the stresses of being 14. It manages to talk about these problems, but in an unobtrusive way. It doesn’t force those themes down youngsters’ throats. And if there are lessons to be learned, director Roberta Durrant subtly sneaks them into the subtext.

This is a fun South African movie about innocence and accepting who you are, but also accommodating the family problems caused by our history. It deservedly won the audience award for the favourite film at the recent Durban Film Festival.

If you’re in the mood to see a film that you can take your kids to, this is it. Congratulations to Durrant form making such a pleasant, watchable movie about discovering your place in society.