Release Date: January 23, 1998
Running time: 1h 59m
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The greatest feature to emerge thus far from South Africa (since 1994) is Katinka Heyns's Paljas. The narrative occurs in the 1960s, when poverty amongst Afrikaners was a serious problem and the South African Railway a key mechanism in Afrikaner affirmative action. This excellent Afrikaans language drama follows the deterioration of an Afrikaner family isolated and shunned in the small community of Toorwater. Nothing seems to happen. Then a circus train loses its way and comes to rest in Toorwater, and a mysterious clown brings fresh magic to the stagnating family, but he also poses a threat to the rest of the community. Heyns brilliantly succeeds in creating a metaphor for the Afrikaner family's turbulent emotional, cultural and ideological journey from the darkness of apartheid back into the light of post-apartheid reconciliation (famililial, cultural and political).
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