15th European Film Festival, "Life, above all" only one screening on Friday, 4th November 2011 at 7.45 pm at Movie Towne POS

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In the dusty small town of Elandsdoorn, a South African township not far from Johannesburg, life is simple and serene. A prevailing sense of deep pride tightly bonds together the entire community - but beware to those who step out of line…


12-year-old Chanda is a hardworking promising young student with a bright future, but her life changes dramatically when her baby sister unexpectedly dies. Heartbroken, Chanda’s mother, Lillian, in turn becomes severely ill. Her stepfather drowns himself in alcohol, leaving the young girl to take care of her two smaller siblings. Meanwhile, the formerly friendly neighbours become increasingly distant and gossip spreads.


"Auntie" Tafa does what she can to help by getting Lillian to leave town, but not even “Auntie” is immune to the cloud of fear filtering across Elandsdoorn. Suspecting that the community’s irrational ostracism has to do with her mother’s illness and the death of her baby sister, Chanda demands answers but is met with stubborn silence. Unwilling to bear the weight of secrecy any longer, Chanda sets out to face a deeply engrained, unspoken taboo…


“Life, above all” is an emotional and universal drama about a young girl (stunningly performed by first-time-actress Khomotso Manyaka) who fights the fear and shame that have poisoned her community. The film captures the enduring strength of loyalty and a courage powered by the heart.

Oliver Schmitz was born in South Africa in 1960, to German parents. To escape being drafted into the South African army, he left the country for Germany, where he lived and worked for many years. He returned to South Africa and worked for the Film Research Unit, a union of black and white filmmakers opposed to the apartheid regime. His film Mapantsula (1988) debuted at the Cannes Film Festival. “Life, Above All”, which also debuted at Cannes, was the South African entry for Best Foreign Language film at the Academy Awards in 2011.


“Life, above all” is supported by the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival. November 4th, 7.45 pm is your last opportunity to see this great movie, which is marked as GE5 in the programme. The European Film Festival continues until 8th November in Movie Towne Port of Spain and will run in Movie Towne Tobago from 9th-15th November. For updated information, please visit us on facebook European Filmfestival – Trinidad and Tobago.