Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
South Africa, 2004. Distant Horizon, Dv8, Exciting Films, HBO Films, M-Net, Nelson Mandela Foundation, Videovision Entertainment. Screenplay by Darrell Roodt. Cinematography by Michael Alan Brierley. Produced by Anant Singh, Helena Spring. Music by Madala Kunene. Production Design by Tiaan van Tonder. Costume Design by Darion Hing. Film Editing by Avril Beukes. Academy Awards 2004. Toronto International Film Festival 2004.
Leleti Khumalo‘s performance is as graceful and beautiful as the cinematography in this excellent film calling attention to the AIDS crisis in Africa. She plays Yesterday, a South African woman who lives in a tiny village with her daughter while her husband works the mines in Johannesburg. Week after week she visits a clinic that is located a two hour walk away from her home to find out the nature of a bad cough she’s had for many months, but every time she goes the crowds that precede her are too large and she is turned away. When she finally does get to see the doctor, she learns that she is HIV positive and that she probably got it from her husband. Attitudes in the village towards her disintegrate into fear and ignorance, except from a kindly teacher who sticks by her to the very end. Blessed with an intelligent script and strong direction, this film is the first ever to be made in the native language of Zulu. It is a film that is powerful in its simple execution, blessed by Khumalo’s ability to put across so much emotion with so little fanfare, and unshakable direction by Darrell Roodt (who previously worked with Khumalo on Sarafina).