Orania (G)

Film image
Director
Tobias Lindner
Starring
N/A

The ViewWellington Review

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Review byMatthew Turner24/09/2012

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 93 mins

This German documentary about a remote and homogeneous village in South Africa is incredibly insightful and informative, but its slow pace calls out for some action and excitement.

What’s it all about?
Directed and produced by Tobias Lindner, Orania is a German documentary about a remote and secluded village in the barren centre of South Africa, where only white Afrikaans people live. Described as an ‘intentional community’, Orania is a culturally harmonized and self-determined place, which refuses to be part of the ‘Rainbow Nation’ that South Africa is slowly becoming since Apartheid’s end. This insightful documentary meets some of the village’s 800 inhabitants and explores Orania’s cultural identity and heritage with the intention of gaining an understanding behind the village’s societal experiment.

The Good
Orania’s human subjects are kind, humble and interesting people, with the younger and misunderstood inhabitants eager to get across their message that they don’t disapprove of South Africa’s ‘Rainbow Nation’. They stress that deep down they are normal, regular people who are interested in the same things as other people their age. The main focal characters are arguably the two teenage boys, who befriend each other in a youth home and who, both with their problematic backgrounds, create fine subjects for the audience to indulge in.

The documentary also showcases some brilliant audio footage from the village’s local radio station, which, in a particularly amusing scene, announces the station’s internet failure and goes on to speculate and guess what the weather might be like over the next few days. Finally, Orania features some beautiful shots of South Africa’s landscape and some revealing ‘pro-Orania’ anthems, offering an insight into the village’s cultural values.

The Bad
Although it intends to set the scene of its confined titular subject, some of Orania’s shot sequences of the inhabitants’ everyday lives (including views of cows being milked and swimming pools being cleaned) grow a little tiresome, walking the fine line between instructive and tedious. Finally, despite the characters’ stories being fairly interesting, in some scenes Orania begs for a dose of excitement and acceleration in pace, often finding itself lost in some anecdotes, when it should have moved on to something bigger and better.

Worth seeing?
Despite its overdose of everyday shots, Orania is an insightful and intuitive documentary about an unfamiliar culture and lifestyle with attractive human subjects and accounts. Recommended.

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Content updated: 21/11/2019 17:05

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