Marthinus Struwig
1 minute read
16 Oct 2015
2:30 pm

Abraham movie review (trailer)

Marthinus Struwig

Jans Rautenbach is one of South African cinema's greatest directors.

LIFE ON THE ROAD. DJ Mouton stars as Abraham. Pictures: Ster-Kinekor

He brought about a revolution in the ’60s with his bold and fearless films Die Kandidaat, Katrina and Jannie Totsiens. In his latest offering he remembers his life-changing meeting with a young would-be sculptor, Abraham, well-played by DJ Mouton who sells chickens next to the road near De Rust. Rautenbach takes him in, but when he introduces the big world outside to him through a book, the young man loses all sense of direction which leads him down a self-destructive path.

The film is beautifully shot by Koos Roets who paints soulful cinematic pictures of the cruel, harsh landscape which serves as a jail for Abraham. Instead of nurturing his creativity, it makes him want to escape to a world he is not ready for. But at the same time the Karoo is also where he comes from and will always feel at home.

The film is slow, with long, uninterrupted shots of people talking. Some of these scenes are too stretched out and detract rather than contribute to the beautiful story of a young man’s journey and a filmmaker’s impatient mentorship. But readers who have admired Rautenbach through the decades may find his unhurried, gentle, authoritative style blends in perfectly with the timelessness of the Karoo as he pays tribute to a man suffering under the unbearable weight of being an artist.

This film is recommended for art cinema lovers and anyone who takes Afrikaans cinema seriously, but is an acquired taste.