Screening of «Elelwani» in Windhoek

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Info   Entrance: 40,- N$

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AfricAvenir, in partnership with Indigenous Film Distribution, presents “Elelwani” to Namibian audiences on 25 June 2016, 19h00 at the Goethe Institute Namibia in Windhoek. Received with raving reviews, Elelwani is the first Venda-language film to be made in South Africa. Elelwani, a dark, romantic comedy adapted from the novel of the same title offers important insight into Venda culture. It reflects the myths, legends and taboos of the cultural beliefs, and also the challenge of incorporating contemporary South African aspirations with deep-rooted ritualistic practices.

Story:
It all begins with a car journey: for Elelwani and Vele, it feels like they’re setting out on the summer holiday of their lives. Elelwani has just completed her studies and is in love with Vele, who is sitting right next to her. They drive through the ever greener countryside into Elelwani’s home village, where they intend to tell her parents of their plans to marry and spend their future together. They are greeted with a dramatic dance in honour of the first woman from the village to have gained a degree, or at least that’s what Elelwani thinks.

Yet she’s wrong: her parents reveal shortly afterwards that she’s been promised to the tribal king, the dance being the prelude to the celebrations for the planned wedding. Although the young woman initially rebels, she finally consents. What happens next is a cinematic initiation into the culture of the Venda: an ethnographic thriller with incredibly beautiful images and a disturbing plot. With this film, Ntshavheni Wa Luruli, himself a Venda, offers insights into an exotic culture without exoticizing it, all a result of his consistent refusal to explain its secrets.

Comments by the director:
"For many years I have longed and desired to celebrate black South African authors who have written and published their stories in indigenous languages which had not been recognized under apartheid. One of these unsung artistic heroes is Venda author T.N. Maumela who has written and published over 20
novels, short stories, folklores and essays in the Venda language.

Elelwani, a dark, romantic comedy adapted from the novel of the same title offers important insight into Venda culture. It reflects the myths, legends and taboos of the cultural beliefs, and also the challenge of incorporating contemporary South African aspirations with deep-rooted ritualistic practices."
"As a Venda I have an intimate, insider’s position on the culture and the community in which the narrative unfolds. There is no danger that the Venda culture will be exoticized and this unique position allows me to offer commentary on the culture while being critical (through the narrative and characters). Such a film challenges local audiences and also offers foreign audiences insight into a culture very rarely, if ever seen, since so little is known about the sacred and ritualistic practices of this community."

"My intentions are not a romantic obsession with the African past. I am attracted to this story because of its timeless social themes and their cultural and political relevance to contemporary experiences in South African life. Most importantly, my intention is not to offer a didactic film but one which portrays the experiences of women in a community through characters that are engaging in a moving story which reassess culturalgender frameworks. "

Press:
“A dedicated lead turn by local TV star Florence Masebe as an urban career woman blindsided when her parents sell her into marriage” Guy Lodge - Variety

"Director Ntshavheni wa Luruli, a humble and unassuming personality, has not only made history, he's made a beautiful film. If you're a film lover, it's difficult not to feel euphoric when you have a great cinematic experience." Joanna Sterkowicz - Screen Africa

For more information about the film, visit:
http://www.indigenousfilm.co.za/movie-archive/elelwani/ 

Trailer:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbErhA8k_4U 

Awards/Specials:

  • Best Actress in leading Role, African Movie Academy Awards 2013
  • Winner Best Production Design, African Movie Academy Awards 2013
  • Opening Film Durban International Film Festival 2012
  • Official Selection Berlinale Forum, 2013

Contact:  Hans-Christian Mahnke, director & chairperson of the board, 0855630949, africavenir.whk(at)googlemail.com 

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