Max and Mona

Teddy Mattera wrote and directed this sly South African farce (2004) about a young man who's inherited his grandfather's talent for unleashing mass grief and serves as the ritual mourner for his village. After the village elders send the young man to Johannesburg to earn a medical degree, his unscrupulous uncle tries to exploit his gift as part of a scheme to pay off a debt to a local gangster. The movie takes a scattershot, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach and runs out of steam before the end, but it's engaging nonetheless, and the cast is charming. In subtitled English, Tswana, Afrikaans, and Zulu. 98 min.

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