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Movie Review: Hear Me Move

Katleho Sekhotho
March13/ 2015

Starring: Nyaniso Dzedze, Wandile Molebatsi, Bontle Modiselle

Directed By: Scottnes L. Smith

Vuvuzela rating: 7/10

Big23_hear_me_move commercial, South African films are so rare, besides the Afrikaans rom-coms of course, that as a citizen you want to celebrate every one that is released. Hear Me Move is a nice try.

Directed by Scottnes Smith, Hear Me Move might leave some people confused about a few things. South Africa’s first dance film is set against the backdrop of Johannesburg’s neon city lights and townships. Throughout the film, however, you wonder how they get from one place to another, they seem to pass between the two places without effort.

This colourful and pacey film attempts to bring the story of Muzi (Nyaniso Dzedze), the son of a famous pantsula dancer to the screen. Muzi’s father who tragically died 12 years ago becomes the driving force of the film and the reason for many of Muzi’s woes and triumphs as a dancer.

The popular township dance style called sbujwa is highlighted in the movie, and with a love story added to the mix, the built-up passion fizzles to a barely-there kiss.

The directing and producing is almost clean in its execution, and the music refuses to go unnoticed in a great way. But its clear fundamental errors were made at a scriptwriting level.

The premise of the ‘lost son’ looking for his father’s presence is forced onto the viewer and you’re left exasperated by it all. A film driven by events rather than character.

The hard work put in by the dancers is evident, and their bodies reflect this. If there is something to really appreciate, it’s the amazing eye-candy.

However their too-toned bodies are too contemporary and too exercised for the laid back, swanky, almost-too-skinny vibe we know to be sbujwa dancing, the film fails to capture that authentic township feel.

The high-end dancing and the ‘underground’ settings for the competitions, with famous judges and hosts, feels unrealistic and copied from American movies.

Not all is lost however, some moments are golden and they bring the story back to life. Mbuso Kgarebe, who plays the antagonist Prince, is formidably intense and Khanyi (Bontle Modiselle) who plays Muzi’s love interest has the kind of legs that go on forever.

It’s a fun film to watch, because of the dance elements, and as a South African it might be your duty to watch but it scores low on originality and authenticity.

 

 

 

 

Katleho Sekhotho

Journalist for Wits Vuvuzela: 2015