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Actors: Khomotso Manyaka, Keaobaka Makanyane,
Lerato Mvelase, Harriet Lenabe, Aubrey Poolo
Directors: Oliver Schmitz
Writers: Allan Stratton, Dennis Foon
Producers: Daniela Ramin, Greig Buckle, Helge Sasse, Martin Hämer, Oliver Stoltz
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen
In Sotho with subtitles: English, French
Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Number of discs: 2
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date: December 6, 2011
Run Time: 100 minutes
Film Review by Kam Williams
Excellent (4 stars)
It’s bad enough that her newborn sister has just died of an unspecified illness, now Chanda (Khomotso Manyaka) finds herself having to fend-off all the ugly rumors about her family circulating around their tight-knit community located in the slums just outside Johannesburg. At a time when most 12 year-olds are simply focusing on schoolwork, she’s shouldering the responsibility of caring for her younger siblings, Soly (Thato Kgaladi) and Iris (Mapaseka Mathebe). Plus, she’s worried about whether her BFF Esther (Keaobaka Makanyane) will even play with her anymore.
In fact, she’s already so weakened by her deteriorating condition that she’s become dependent on the charity of the church. And when her trifling hubby skips town, she has to ask Mrs. Tafa (Harriet Manamela) next-door to serve as a surrogate parent to her three daughters. Meanwhile, Lillian’s desperate enough to seek out healing from a wily witch doctor (Mary Twala) who resorts to unorthodox healing regimens like snakes to cast out her fading patient’s demons.
This is the harrowing state of affairs established in Life, Above All, a
bittersweet drama directed by Oliver Schmitz. Based on the award-winning
novel “Chanda's Secrets” by Allan Stratton, the movie marks the screen debut
of Khomotso Manyaka, a talented actress with no formal training. Ms. Manyaka
turns in a moving performance in an emotionally-demanding lead role as the
picture’s courageous heroine. Her supporting cast proves equally effective
in service of the heartrending tale.
A convincing portrayal of the tragic plight of the HIV+ poor in South Africa.