Stilte has a quiet serenityDaniel Dercksen
Daniel Dercksen: It is refreshing to find a wholesome family story that shines a light on hope and absolution.
If you are a fan of Afrikaans films and looking for an inspirational story about a superstar singer who finds spiritual healing in the arms of a handsome young small town pastor, then Stilte should be on your to-see-list.
There has been an explosion of Afrikaans films on the local film front in the last couple of years, covering a variety of genres, ranging from teenage rom-coms Bakgat, poignant family dramas like Die Ongelooflike Avonture van Hanna Hoekom and Roepman, comic-book heroes in Superhelde, big screen adaptations of popular television favourites like Egoli and Getroud Met Rugby, the human drama Die Wonderwerker, nostalgic musicals Liefling and Platteland, romance in Jakhalsdans and Semi-Soet, the coming-of-age Cinderella story in Susanna van Biljon, the gay-themed Skoonheid, the inspirational ‘n Saak van Geloof, to the mystery Wolwedans in die Skemer.
Now veteran filmmaker and Oscar-nominated director Darrell James Roodt (Yesterday) brings us Stilte, which is quite similar to his Jakhalsdans.
As sweet as a plate of freshly baked koeksisters and as homely as melktert, Stilte is two films for the price of one; on the one hand it offers an emotional love story, and on the other it is an inspirational film about finding peace with your maker and the power of prayer.
Woven neatly into a spectacular fabric of the awesome Karoo landscape (beautifully captured by cinematographer Pierre Smith), with emotive songs emphasising the message of hope, Stilte is charming in its own, quiet way.
Angelique Pretorius (Stoute Boudjies, TV’s Kruispad) bravely tackles the role of a talented young singer who is on the verge of realising her dreams, when both her parents are killed in a violent home invasion and she too, is left for dead. She survives the ordeal and relocates to a farm in Oudtshoorn to stay with her aunt and uncle.
It is here where she meets a young pastor, featuring Andre Frauenstein, one of the leading electronic DJ/Producers in South Africa who was last seen in the local vampire thriller Eternity.
The main conflict of Stilte focuses on a woman who has lost her faith, in everything, including God, and a handsome young pastor who has to convince her that her life was spared for a reason.
A full-blooded love story is senseless without a bully who wants to win the hand of the fair maiden, and Altus Theart (Bakgat!, TV’s Kruispad) is ideally cast as the scorned villain.
Stilte is not a film that pretends to be what it is not.
Following in the footsteps of Faith Like Potatoes and Ordinary People, Stilte deals head-on with issues of faith and redemption, and shows the importance of confronting personal religious beliefs.
It is also a relevant story that explores the result of crime and how it is always best to face a tragedy rather than try and ignore its dark sorrow.
Although it deals with serious matters, Stilte offers light-hearted and tender escapism filled with human drama and soulful serenity.
It has an innocence that is quaint and cute, particularly the blossoming relationship between the two lovebirds.
With hardcore violence, mean-spirited and exploitative films that explore the dark side of human nature, meaningless absurdity, and rude comedies dominating big screen entertainment, it is refreshing to find a wholesome family story that shines a light on hope and absolution.
It is sometimes easy to ignore films like Stilte that deals with issues we tend to shy away from, but equally important to open a window into a world that is removed from the rat-race and shows how important it is to succumb to a calm and peaceful resolution.
Freelance Film Journalist
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