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Tess is a South African Afrikaans-language drama based on the novel Whiplash by Tracey Farren. The film, like the novel, is set in the Cape Town seaside suburb of Muizenberg. Directed by Meg Rickards and starring among others Christia Visser, Nse Ikpe-Etim, Brendon Daniels, Dann-Jacques Mouton, Quanita Adams and Lee anne Van Rooi. The screenplay was also written by Tracey Farren. It was shot by renowned Dutch Director of Photography Bert Haitsma and edited by Linda Man. Produced by Kim Williams and Paul Egan
This is perhaps one of the best South African movies ever made. A very difficult topic to deal with, but done with dearness, sympathy, and understanding. Indeed a subtle comment on the life of the vulnerable when society, the state, and family fails them.
A very well made film in which every scene in the ninety minutes focus on telling the story, without suspense, thriller scenes, just telling the story and with just sufficient time allocated to the horrors of theme to make the viewer wish it is over but also prolonging the horror long enough to drive a very important message home - we should be a caring society. Interestingly enough, the treatment of the topic avoids political, racial, or religious comment - the topic is far greater than any of these.
Christen Visser renders a world class performance, certainly one of the greatest I have seen in a few decades - it was a very difficult role to act, and reminded me of the star performances of the lady main role players in "The Crime of Farther Amaro", "Violetta perfuma nada te oyo", and lately "Julia".
This film can be compared to some of the greatest film, like the three above, and as a social comment to "Innocent Voices", "Chronicas", and "The dancer upstairs". In the best tradition of film making, the film stops at exactly the correct moment - it is left to the audience to make their conclusion.
Write-Up by: Cornelis Frick