Nicole Fortuin and Izel Bezuidenhout as girls on the run in Jenna Bass’s South African feminist western “Flatland”
Today at Luxembourg City Film Festival we recommend a Luxembourg co-production, Jenna Bass’s South African feminist road movie thriller.
Co-produced by Luxembourg’s Deal Productions, “Flatland” has been labelled “the world’s first South African feminist western.” The third feature film by South African director Jenna Bass, the movie premiered at the Berlin Film Festival last month and now screens as part of the Made in/with Luxembourg section at the Luxembourg City Film Festival.
The film pits three women protagonists against a male dominated world, and against each other.
Watch the trailer:
Mixed-race teenager Natalie (Nicole Fortuin) and her best friend Poppie (Izel Bezuidenhout) go on the run after Natalie’s harrowing wedding day ends in tragedy. On their tail is veteran cop Beauty Cuba (Faith Baloyi), who has a vested interest in finding the girls because her former boyfriend who has just been released from jail, has become entangled in the case.
The dusty plains of the Great Karoo region create a perfect backdrop for what is essentially a contemporary western--the two teenagers even initially make their escape on horseback. But Bass gives the film great edge and cinematographer Sarah Cunningham does fine work in capturing the faded colours of the sand-blasted landscape. The contrast in the three women characters is superbly drawn. Despite the violent opening, Natalie is the calm centre and Fortuin manages to elicit audience sympathy. Bezuidenhout is suitably unpredictable as the pregnant but bored teenager who likes to think she is a rebel. And Baloyi commands the screen with a charismatic presence that one reviewer likened to Frances McDormand’s Marge Gunderson in “Fargo”.
An entertaining and thought-provoking film set in a South Africa few of us will get to experience, “Flatland” is definitely worth checking out.