Sunday, 3 May 2009

White Wedding

An enjoyable though simple tale...

The soon-to-be-wed Elvis (Kenneth Nkosi) and his best friend and best man Tumi (Rapulana Seiphemo) are on route from Durban to Cape Town to attend rehearsals for Elvis's wedding. However their journey does not go according to plan as both Elvis and Tumi struggle to find their way across the country, and they meet up with Rose (Jodie Whittaker), a doctor from England, who is trying to return to home.

The narrative for White Wedding is not exactly something unheard of but it makes for a refreshing tale in traditional South African cinema, usually concerned with Apartheid, crime or other negative aspects of modern society. Instead, White Wedding is far more casual and relaxed though this is not to say that its issues are not serious. The central three characters all suffer from some form of anxiety in regards to relationships. Elvis is devoted to his wife Ayanda (Zandile Msutwana) but as the story progresses he becomes jealous that his wife might be spending too much of her time with her ex-boyfriend. Tumi has no interest in marriage and his flirtatious habits make his prospects at a long term relationship difficult. Rose, on the other hand, learned that her fiancée was being unfaithful. Evidently it is relationships which become the film's prime concern. Another issue at the heart of White Wedding is racism and the ideal of an equal society.This issue is played upon by much of the comedic nature of the film. Strangely, while the film has comedy throughout and is marketed as such, the comedy never overrides the dramatic elements of the text. In many respects, the comedy becomes situational, playing upon South African societal norms, such as Elvis and Tumi vising a bar in an Afrikaans town. It all makes for good, clean fun even if the film proves too idealistic for its own good.
The acting is, in general, quite good. Nkosi feels comfortable with his role though he tends to overact on the odd occasion, and Seiphemo is as solid as always. Whittaker is a surprise casting, giving the film somewhat of an international appeal, and while she is not acting at her best she does her job well enough. Msutwana is the only of the cast who appears somewhat off-putting. Throughout she is workable but she goes through the odd scene once and while as monotonic.

The cinematography feels too simple and expected, though strangely this is not a bad move on part of the director Jann Turner with her directorial debut. Turner goes about refreshing African cinema, and proves to rather make a sound film instead of allowing it to be plagued by a poor script, story or acting. She will undoubtedly free her style once she gets more used to creating movies instead of her usual television shows.

Apart from the occasional mild swearing, there is no content which sensitive viewers would disapprove of.

White Wedding is not an excellent comedy but as the sum of it's parts, its worth a watch. The story is simple though lacks subtly in explaining its messages and the acting is commendable though it does wane at times. While strictly a comedy to be enjoyed by South Africans it does have some international appeal. However the film should be viewed as a drama with a good does of comedy rather then a strict comedy, and perhaps by not being so conservative with style and form, White Wedding could be enjoyed by all.


Screen date: 03 May 2009
Release date: 29 April 2009