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First-time director brings post-post-colonial South Africa to Cannes

CANNES, France (Reuters) – With its characters herding cattle by an austere, dusty panorama, “The Harvesters” bears a passing resemblance to a Western.

71st Cannes Film Festival – Photocall for the movie “The Harvesters” (Die Stropers) in competitors for the class Un Certain Regard – Cannes, France, May 15, 2018. Director Etienne Kallos with solid members Juliana Venter, Alex van Dyk, Lily Bertish, Joshua Anderson, Brent Vermeulen and Jan Daniel Naude. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

But the setting of the film, which gained important approval for its first-time director in Cannes, shouldn’t be the Wild West however South Africa, and its cowboys are Afrikaners, a neighborhood that thrived within the apartheid period however now faces an unsure future.

The story follows teenage boy Janno, the oldest little one and solely son in a God-fearing household whose life and sense of self are thrown into chaos by his dad and mom’ determination to foster an orphan, Pieter, a 13-year-old little one recovering from drug habit and life as a hire boy.

Writer-director Etienne Kallos, a South African, however not an Afrikaner, was drawn to the story of a neighborhood in a “post-post-colonial” world that finds itself more and more remoted.

“They are overlooked, I would say, in many ways,” Kallos advised Reuters in Cannes.

“They are under-represented, particularly as a result of the one factor individuals take into consideration is apartheid. But there’s a lot extra occurring.

“The new era of Afrikaners was born utterly exterior the apartheid regime they usually’re shifting in the direction of some form of a brand new Africa and don’t know what that’s but.”

There is a way of id underneath risk, each for the neighborhood and for Janno himself, performed by newcomer Brent Vermeulen, whose deep emotions for his finest buddy don’t match with the macho rugby-playing tradition.

Screen Daily mentioned: “This assured feature debut effectively hints at a churning savagery beneath the surface, which is every bit as unforgiving as the stark landscape”.

That panorama, in Eastern Free State and KwaZulu-Natal, with its mesas, hanging flat-topped mountains, was the start line for Kallos.

“I set out to make a film about place,” he mentioned.

“We labored laborious to one way or the other seize … a grandeur that the panorama is greater than the individuals.

“I needed to really feel the panorama was extra necessary than the characters or extra highly effective than the characters.”

“The Harvesters” (“Die Stropers”) is in competitors within the “Un Certain Regard” part on the Cannes Film Festival that runs to May 19.

Writing by Robin Pomeroy; Editing by Alison Williams

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