Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Review: Arriving on Netflix TODAY, Definitive Nina Simone Documentary, 'What Happened, Miss Simone' Review: Arriving on Netflix TODAY, Definitive Nina Simone Documentary, 'What Happened, Miss Simone' Haiti and the Dominican Republic - A Conflict Captured on Film Haiti and the Dominican Republic - A Conflict Captured on Film Fried Chicken & Drugs: 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' Writer Charla Lauriston Creates the Anti-­Strong Black Woman in 'Clench & Release' Fried Chicken & Drugs: 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' Writer Charla Lauriston Creates the Anti-­Strong Black Woman in 'Clench & Release' A Muscle-Bound Michael B. Jordan Hitting a Speed Bag w/ Stallone's Encouragement in Pic from 'Creed' A Muscle-Bound Michael B. Jordan Hitting a Speed Bag w/ Stallone's Encouragement in Pic from 'Creed' Greetings From 'The Walking Dead: Season 6' Set as Daryl Plants an Unexpected Kiss on Michonne Greetings From 'The Walking Dead: Season 6' Set as Daryl Plants an Unexpected Kiss on Michonne Taraji P. Henson Books Lead in 'Hunger Games' Producer's Directorial Debut, ‘The Best Of Enemies’ Taraji P. Henson Books Lead in 'Hunger Games' Producer's Directorial Debut, ‘The Best Of Enemies’ PBS Yanks Ben Affleck 'Finding Your Roots' Episode + Puts Off 3rd & 4th Seasons Until Editorial Standards Improve PBS Yanks Ben Affleck 'Finding Your Roots' Episode + Puts Off 3rd & 4th Seasons Until Editorial Standards Improve Casting News - Teyonah Parris Is Spike Lee's Lysistrata + NWA Biopic Casts its Tupac, Jussie Smollett Heads 'Underground' Casting News - Teyonah Parris Is Spike Lee's Lysistrata + NWA Biopic Casts its Tupac, Jussie Smollett Heads 'Underground' Here's Your First Look At Taye Diggs in the Title Role in 'Hedwig and the Angry Inch' Here's Your First Look At Taye Diggs in the Title Role in 'Hedwig and the Angry Inch' Maya Rudolph Mocks Rachel Dolezal on 'Late Night' Maya Rudolph Mocks Rachel Dolezal on 'Late Night' Here's the List of Films & TV Series Coming to (and Leaving) Netflix's Streaming Library in July Here's the List of Films & TV Series Coming to (and Leaving) Netflix's Streaming Library in July Teaser: Marques Houston, Keshia Knight Pulliam and Draya Michele Star in TV One Original Movie, 'Will to Love' Teaser: Marques Houston, Keshia Knight Pulliam and Draya Michele Star in TV One Original Movie, 'Will to Love' Petition Launched to Push UK Theater Chains to Screen 'Dear White People' Petition Launched to Push UK Theater Chains to Screen 'Dear White People' Miles Morales Is Indeed Your New Spider-Man Miles Morales Is Indeed Your New Spider-Man Starz Announces Return Date for Original Series 'Power' + New Key Art + Trailer Starz Announces Return Date for Original Series 'Power' + New Key Art + Trailer Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates 'Supremacy' Director Deon Taylor Talks Race, Horror, and Working With Lela Rochon (LAFF Premiere) 'Supremacy' Director Deon Taylor Talks Race, Horror, and Working With Lela Rochon (LAFF Premiere) Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

Africa In Motion 13 Review: Painterly, Meditative S. African Drama 'Forgotten Kingdom' Buoyed by Rich Performances

Shadow and Act By Vanessa Martinez | Shadow and Act October 28, 2013 at 2:05PM

Africa In Motion 13 Review: Painterly, Meditative S. African Drama 'Forgotten Kingdom' Buoyed by Rich Performances
1
The Forgotten Kingdom Poster

Andrew Mudge's South African drama The Forgotten Kingdom is screening as part of the Africa in Motion Film Festival (AiM), which kicked off last week.

The impeccably photographed Kingdom begins with its protagonist Atang (played by Tsotsi's Zenzo Ngkobe), who's walking the streets in Johannesburg, a vibrant scene which seems to have been choreographed to the local hip-hop beats and sounds.

In an early sequence in which a convenience store owner tells Atang he looks nothing like his father, except for the "anger in his eyes," we sense that a resentful Atang has been fending for himself in the South African town for some time without parental or familial guidance.  After a long-due visit to his estranged father's dwelling, a neighbor tells Atang that his father had been sick and passed. Atang is now in charge of taking his father's body to his native land of Lesotho to be buried.

The drama begins to slowly unfold hereafter. Atang must return to his native land to confront his past and deal with his issues of abandonment, which stemmed from his mother dying when he was a young boy and his now deceased father sending him to live with different acquaintances. Atang looks and feels like an outsider in his native Lesotho, although he soon reconnects with Dineo (played with aplomb by Nozipho Nkelemba), an old childhood friend who lives with her father and HIV-positive sister. Conflict arises when her father gives Atang an ultimatum to pay the dowry and marry his daughter. Atang returns to Johannesburg, but soon after he has a change of heart and decides to go back to Lesotho to reunite with Dineo.

For the most part, the film plays like a quiet, meditative tale, marked by compelling performances. There is a also a whimsical element permeating throughout the film. A key character at the core of Kingdom is an orphan boy (Lebehang Ntsane) who knows Atang's native land. The boy tells Atang he is "the eyes on the dark clouds following you around this country." The young boy seems possess an old soul; you wonder if he is in fact real or a mystical character. There's also supernatural elements discussed throughout. The two embark on a journey to find Dineo, who has moved to another town at the will of her father, who is ashamed of Dineo's sister's HIV prognosis.

Atang and Dineo's relationship could have definitely been more developed more; the film gears its focus to Atang's journey with the orphan boy. Towards the end, the film may become a bit predictable. Atang and Dineo's respective conflicts - Atang's issues with abandonment and Dineo's issues with her controlling father seem to have a steely resolve and closure. Don't expect any explosive, shocking or brutal scenes; it just isn't that type a film. Overall, Kingdom is more of a perceptive film, although some may find some aspects of the viewing tiresome.

However, Kingdom is a well crafted film. Mudge's direction augers some fine acting from all main characters.

Atang's Zenzo Ngkobe pulls off a powerful performance. He is a fascinating actor to watch. It will be interesting to see if he's interested in crossing over to American films, not that it would be necessary for him do so in order to showcase his obvious acting chops. Newcomers Nkelemba, who plays Dineo, and Ntsane, who plays the orphan boy, are both quite a revelation. While the pace may drag at times, the film's crisp scenery and stunning photography will transport you to its painterly landscapes.  But most significantly, Kingdom's heartfelt performances and director Mudge's competent direction will keep you engaged through the duration. 

The Forgotten Kingdom (Trailer) from Black Kettle Films on Vimeo.


This article is related to: Festival Dispatch


Shadow & ActNewsletter