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Monday, 14 May 2012 11:46

A Million Colours

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A Million Colours Image: flcikr/ gmayster01 on & off ...

Monja Pienaar: Film Review: A Million Colours

In 1976, an exceptionally volatile year of the Apartheid era, South Africa saw the release of the classic film e’Lollipop. The film told the story of two young boys, Muntu Ndebele and Norman Knox, who, despite their racial differences, begin a friendship so strong, it becomes a brotherhood.

Despite their success as child stars, however, their lives after e’Lollipop bear witness to the tests and trials of the Apartheid government. It is against this backdrop which A Million Colours is set.

It has become something of a cliché for foreign filmmakers to use Apartheid as the topic for South African films. Admittedly, your first thought after watching the preview will most likely be: “I’ve seen it all before.”

Nonetheless, do not let your prejudicial preconceptions discourage you. The South African/Canadian-produced film is one of the few that capture our familiar history in a new light.

Based on a true story, A Million Colours follows its protagonist, Muntu Ndebele, played by Wandile Molebatsi, through the June protests of 1976, township gangster wars, exiled ANC camps, and finally the drug-ridden areas of Hillbrow. Above all else, however, the film is a love story.

Although their situations seem border-line unrealistic at times, Molebatsi and Masello Motana deliver believable performances which make their circumstances seem less exaggerated. 

Their contrasting worlds tearing them apart from the beginning, you find yourself rooting for their love to persevere and conquer the cultural and political challenges thrown 
at them.

Of the three main characters, Norman Knox, played by idols winner Jason Hartman, as a soldier fighting for the Apartheid State, is arguably the least effective.

At times, the film’s portrayal of the South African Army army is hardly believable and it largely resorts to typical Afrikaner stereotypes. Nonetheless, the film successfully shows how easily the racial divide of the country tested even the strongest of friendships.

Overall, A Million Colours is effective enough to bring you to the edge of your seat, but without the “based on a true story” tagline, the plot often seems slightly questionable. If there are any faults with the film, blame should be fixed with the directors rather than the actors: their performances are, without a doubt, responsible for the success of the film.

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