Apartheid era love story ‘The World Unseen’ scoops 11 Saftas

2009-02-22 00:00

THE World Unseen won 11 awards at this year’s South African Film and Television Awards (Saftas), including best director (Shamim Sarif), best ensemble, best writing and best cinematography.

The film — shot entirely in South Africa and based on Sarif’s award-winning debut novel of the same name — opened at Gateway’s Cinema Nouveau last Friday. It is a touching love story set in apartheid SA in the 1950s and was inspired by the true stories of Sarif’s grandmother.

The main characters are free-spirited Amina — played by Sheetal Sheth who recently starred in Looking for Comedy in the Moslem World — and Miriam, played by Canadian actress Lisa Ray, last seen in Deepa Mehta’s Water, which garnered a Best Foreign Picture Academy Award nomination in 2007.

Amina has broken all the rules of her conventional Indian community and the new apartheid-led government by running a cafe with Jacob, her coloured business partner. When she meets Miriam, a young traditional wife and mother, their unexpected attraction pushes Miriam to question the rules that bind her.

Also in the cast are Parvin Dabas (Monsoon Wedding), Bernard White (The Matrix), Nandana Sen (Black), and South Africans Grethe Fox, David Dennis (Safta best supporting actor), Natalie Becker (Safta best supporting actress), Rajesh Gopie and Colin Moss.

On the television side, the night’s big winners included the SABC1 comedy, City Ses’la, which won six awards; Isidingo and Generations, which both took home four gongs.

“This year’s award ceremony once more attests to the high standard of excellence that we have grown accustomed to in the industry,” Eddie Mbalo, National Film and Video Foundation CEO and Safta committee chairman, said.

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