By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
Opposites attract in a very thoughtful film that shows what a post apartheid world of Johannesburg, South Africa has become. Fanie Fourie’s Lobola shows that the time is right for social change, and after it won Seattle International Film Festival’s Golden Space Needle Award and the Sedona International Film Festival’s Audience Choice for Best Comedy Award last year, hopefully it can win the hearts of many more film goers as it hits film festivals around the world. No official word has been made as to when it will release to DVD, but it is available to download through iTunes and Amazon’s VOD
Life is not easy for Fanie (Eduan van Jaarsveldt of Catch a Fire fame), a South African man struggling to become an artist. He’s falling in love with Dinky Magubane (Zethu Dlomo), a business woman searching for that right opportunity to kickstart her career. Although audiences can see where this tale is going with the two meeting, the charm in watching their courtship is cute. There is a very natural chemistry between these two performers.
Even though their families support their endeavours in furthering their careers, just how they feel about their romance is quite the opposite. Some viewers may think of this tale as a South African take of Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice with some of the major themes and motifs brought to the fore to be explored.
The commentary about social standing and what marriage means adds to the realism of the product. The drama that happens around them is both critical and biting at the same time. Interestingly, even though Saurel (Chris Chameleon from the band, Boo!), the flamboyant brother of Fanie, is fully in favour of them dating, he does not realize that the song he dedicates to them early in the film is not without some prejudice.
Not everyone is ready for multiculturalism. Not even Dinky’s dad, Dumisane (Jerry Mofokeng), can accept that his daughter is fiercely independent. Before Fanie can marry Dinky, this overprotective father evokes the Zulu tradition of Lobola, a request for a dowry to demonstrate that Fanie can ‘afford’ her. That is, to prove that he can take care of Dinky. But this lady thinks that some traditions are best left in the past. The question of whether or not a dowry is still required gives this film an excellent deux ex machina to drive the tale forward to a very hilarious, thoughtful, end.
4½ Stars out of 5