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Review: Life, Above All

A quietly moving coming-of-age tale
By ALEXANDRA CAVALLO  |  August 2, 2011
3.0 3.0 Stars

A grave, quietly moving coming-of-age tale of a young girl raised in a village where many (her infant sister, in this case) are robbed of the opportunity to come of age at all, Oliver Schmitz's film is told effectively through the sad, wise eyes of the 12-year-old protagonist, Chanda (Khomotso Manyaka). Fear bred of ignorance lurks in every dusty corner and sun-beaten field in Chanda's small South African village. Her friends and neighbors live in dread of AIDS ("the bug"), but their fear proves to be far more malignant than the disease itself, its influence turning friends into enemies, neighbors into an angry mob. The burden of a nation and a people in crisis seems to rest upon Chanda's thin shoulders and, under this weight, the simple rites of childhood fall away. Ultimately, though, Chanda's story is one of the human spirit, the capacity for good, and for hope — hope, above all — which might be enough to vanquish the insidious disease of fear and, just maybe, eradicate human suffering.

  Topics: Reviews , Movies, South Africa, AIDS,  More more >
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