17 April 2015 | lmbester
Ballade Vir 'n Enkeling is proof of the remarkable abilities of a new generation of Afrikaans filmmakers. For years the Afrikaner community has been overloaded with very mediocre movies. Ballade is a fresh breeze in an otherwise artistically defunct industry.
Veiled in mystery, we follow the complicated life of protagonist Jacques, a writer. His character is an exploration of the tragedy of loneliness. Once said of Ingrid Jonker, I echo this of Jacques: 'The artist, on his own, searches for reason in the tumultuous, ever-changing spiritual chaos of this world.'
The characters are written with sufficient depth (albeit that in certain personalities some overused stereotypes persist). As such, all that may be found wanting is resorting of the scriptwriter to some lines (fleeting luckily but still somewhat lazy) hallowed in cheap cliché's - undeserving of such an otherwise well-rounded film. The writer, it seems, sometimes forgot that he was the creator of real human beings (an essential trait for the gifted writer). Nevertheless, the actors and director cloud these trivialities with terrific performances.
Never before have I been so astounded by a local production. The director, cinematographer, actors, writer and the rest of the cast have created a true gem. Compared with international productions this film wouldn't stand out, but it'll hold its own weight none the less. Something that I cannot say of any other Afrikaans film.
Well done to the film-makers (especially the cinematographer). This is worth the watch.