WHAT IT'S ABOUT:
Matwetwe (Wizard) is a coming of age adventure following Lefa and Papi, best friends and recent high school graduates, on the hustle of their young lives. Over the course of one action packed New Years Eve in the iconic township of Atteridgeville, the boys try to score a huge deal, dodge a king pin gangster and his violent minions, get the girl and ultimately save their lives in this hilarious and sometimes very serious escapade.
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
Matwetwe is an incredible local film about a young man named Lefa, who spends his last summer with his best friend Papi (before the former goes to Wits) and I loved it so much I wished that summer could’ve lasted forever. Kagiso Lediga’s beautifully interwoven storylines coupled with slick visuals made me feel like this independently made flick is just the thing SA cinema needs to take things to the next level.
I think that Matwetwe is some of the best work our industry has to offer, not because it is perfect, but because it shows the intricacies of local life in a way that is relatable to a broad audience beyond our borders.
This film about Lefa’s life is not simply a tragedy or a comedy or even a lovesick romp it is a multifaceted depiction of several people’s lived experience. The way Kagiso does this is by using comedy to highlight the darker moments in the film, so that the viewer watches something and laughs before they given a beat to process that what they just saw is really messed up. In other words, the audience is made to laugh at the absurdity and tragedy of modern life as well as the brutality of humanity.
When I spoke to writer/director Kagiso Lediga he told me how it all came from an idea he had while he was attending UCT and rediscovered later in life. He then started filming a few short weeks later with a tiny budget and a willing crew. A fact that is worth noting because the story and dialogue - although not autobiographical - capture the energy of an adolescent man eager to make something of himself; of someone thinking more than about right now.
The two leads Sibusiso Khwinana (Lefa) and Tebatso Mashishi (Papi) embody that almost explosive youthful energy, where you just feel like you’re on the verge of something exciting, but you just don’t how to make the leap to adulthood. The duo’s chemistry is absorbing and feels so authentic, it’s hard to imagine they haven’t known each other their whole lives. These two boys’ yearnings, heartbreaks and experiences are all of us, but pushed to cinematic level of exaggeration that is wonderfully entertaining to watch.
I would highly recommend that everyone who can goes to watch this movie, not just because it’s local but because it’s really, really good.