Women on the verge of a social breakdown | Movie Sidebar | Chicago Reader

Film » Movie Sidebar

Women on the verge of a social breakdown

Life, Above All looks closely at the sexism and superstition that runs through poor South African Life


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


ADAPTED FROM A NOVEL BY ALLAN STRATON, this 2010 feature combines deftly executed melodrama with an eye-opening look at the ills confronting poor rural women in South Africa. Young Khomotso Manyaka, discovered in a school choir in Elandsdoorn, gives a fine debut performance as 12-year-old Chanda, who lives in a village outside Johannesburg with her mother and two younger siblings. Her father is gone, her mother's current boyfriend is a violent lout, and grinding poverty has driven Chanda's best friend at school to prostitute herself at the local truck stop. These problems begin to pale in comparison, though, after a rumor that Chanda's mother has contracted AIDS turns the village violently against the family. Director Oliver Schmitz is particularly attentive to the superstition and ingrained sexism that make life miserable for these people, though he also seems to view women as the country's best hope. In Sotho and French with subtitles. PG-13, 100 min. Fri-Mon 9/2-9/5, 2:15, 4:30, 7, and 9:30 PM, and Tue-Thu 9/6-9/8, 4:30, 7, and 9:30 PM. Music Box

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Add a comment