Film Review: Elinye Ithuba

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Τhere is a moment in Elinye Ithuba wherein Dumisani (Blondie Makhene) and Hlengiwe (Slindile Nodangala)are reminiscing about the past and laments the time that Dumisani missed while he was in jail and music is playing in the background. Jovially he asks her who is the musician playing this good music and Hlengiwe responds that it is Blondie, surprisingly Dumisani exclaims that who would’ve thought that Blondie would still be singing after all these years

Viewers familiar with Blondie Makhene would know that it is him, Dumisani, singing. Thus here a self referential device is employed to reemphasize the importance of Makhene to the artistic memory of South African music. Makhene is surprisingly not disappointing as Dumisani, he is boyish and full of energy to the extend that he defies the fact that he is a middle age man. Of course the grey beard gives him away. We might walk away from the film resolved to the idea that the beard is there to mark and emphasize time lost.

Elinye Ithuba is one of those works that interrogates the effects of our sacrifices and the fact that to undo the deeds that might have gotten us in trouble the first time around we might just have to pay a heavy price. Although fifteen years ago when Dumisani is arrested in a botched robbery he manages not to snitch on one of his friends he lost one of them and was jailed for his murder and only one of them, Thibos (Mpho Diamond) defied arrest simply because our protagonist did not snitch on him. He went on to lose his wife and the opportunity to see his daughter Mbali (Loko Makhafola) grow up.

Now coming back to the world he left behind Dumisani finds his daughter living with a dangerous young man who is a drug dealer and as is custom in fables such as these – you don’t have to guess whether he is ill mannered; He is the type of a man who will not think twice before he hurts someone. Now it will be the task of our protagonist to unhinge his daughter from this man although at a heavy price which will result in a cul-de-sac as far as the narrative discourse of this motion picture is concerned.

Elinye Ithuba is an indictment of what happens when families are torn apart by wrong decisions made in desperation to sew them together and the fact that most of the time those bad decisions can never be undone by good deeds but by deeds closer to the original predicament – that bad decision itself. It’s a work that achieves a lot through minimal tools’ usage. The shots are clean and the sweep of the camera flawless, while the subtitles reeks of meticulous attention. Having said this, Elinye Ithuba might not be original, it is a story that has been told before but as a device of self reflection the story is brought closer to us for an introspection of what is wrong with our society.

Tebogo Teriq “lepito33” Mogola’s Elinye Ithuba delivers a solid 4dEF’Points out of Five: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ /

Dear reader I viewed this film at the end of 2015. the present writing is a catch up piece.

26 May

© Mmutle Arthur Kgokong 2016

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