Quirky land of happy black extras

2014-06-15 15:00

Even though I lasted only half an hour, it’s taken me the better part of a year to forget Fanie Fourie’s Lobola, the international film festival and local circuit hit, set in a quirky new South Africa.

In Henk Pretorius’ breakout romcom, a regular small-town Afrikaans guy falls in love with a regular township Zulu gal and hilarity ensues. His people hate her; her people hate him. We’re all equal under hilarity – “houtkoppe” and “mlungus” alike. Thank you, Tata.

People want comedy in their lives right now, I tell myself as I stare at the link to the official “worldwide” trailer for Leading Lady, Pretorius’ much exclaimed-about follow-up feature.

The director will have matured, I tell myself. Bok van Blerk is kinda dishy if you’re into white guys, I try. Come on, it’s just a two-minute trailer. How painful can it be?

And so I click. The trailer opens with an arty, thespy quote about the tears of the world. “For each one who begins to weep, somewhere another one stops,” narrates the overstudied but very pretty Irish actress Katie McGrath.

Her character is coming to small-town South Africa. Yes, South Africa, where chicken is vegetarian fare and the blacks are servants. Katie is going to be learning the white South African accent for a film role.

Good luck to her, I’m thinking, she’ll be the first in the history of Western cinema to crack it.

This isn’t so bad, is it? Colourful South African guitar music kicks in. But I know the signs. Warning bells always follow. And there they are, at 28 seconds.

Katie has arrived in South Africa. She is in a taxi. The blacks are in traditional headpieces, and they’re clapping and singing with her as she embarks on her life-changing adventure in the back end of nowhere. The blacks in the taxi have no lines.

The second black person in Katie’s South Africa arrives at 37 seconds, a maid serving dinner to the madams. She has no lines.

At 50 seconds, there is a third black sighting in white South Africa. A handsome man in finery in the town concert (read proud black warrior). He has no lines.

As the trailer plays out, Katie is rejuvenated by the zany small-town whites who audition for the concert.

It seems Katie’s life will not be the same again after she has visited the land of funny white people and happyblackextras.

I bet international film festivals are gonna love this one. I bet SA Tourism even gets behind it.


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