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Review: On The Other Side Of Life

Slum doc takes an understated approach
By PETER KEOUGH  |  April 14, 2010
3.0 3.0 Stars

It’s a long way from sheep in Montana to troubled teens in a Cape Town slum, but what links this debut documentary from Stefanie Brockhaus and Andy Wolff with the masterful Sweetgrass is a faith in cinema’s ability to reflect reality — not to mention a respect for the intelligence of the audience.

The two filmmakers record the everyday lives of Bongani and Lucky, revealing them to be loyal, funny, and good-natured — so the scene in which the brothers appear in court accused of murder comes as a bit of a surprise.

This understated approach continues as Bongani and Lucky are initiated into the protocol of jailhouse life and then, after grandma pays their bail, undergo the more painful initiation of ritual circumcision. Caught between the gangsta culture of the city and the spiritual traditions of the countryside, the pair grow more sympathetic even as the details of their crime become more shocking.

  Topics: Reviews , Entertainment, Movies, Cape Town,  More more >
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