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The Story of an African Farm

2004
1h 37m
Drama/Family
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Cast

Richard E. Grant (Bonaparte Blenkins)Armin Mueller-Stahl (Otto)Karin van der Laag (Tant Sannie)Kasha Kropinski (Lyndall)Luke Gallant (Waldo)Anneke Weidemann (Em)Elriza Swanepoel (Trana)Nichol Petersen (Tant Sannie's Maid)Abbe-Gail Hartogh (Maid 2)Linda Louw (Maid 3)Chris-Jan Steenkamp (Sheep Shearer)Ibrahim Adams (Blacksmith)Clive Smith (Labourer1)Jan Bobbejee (Farm Labourer 2)Willem Saulse (Farm Labourer 2)Ronnie Hoskins (Waldo's Buggy Cart Driver)

Director

David Lister

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Synopsis

The 1870's. South Africa. Life is normal at the farm on the slopes of a Karoo Kopje. Fat Tant Sannie (Karin van der Laag) looks after her charges, the sweet Em (Anneke Weidemann) and the independent Lyndall (Kasha Kropinski), with a strict Biblical hand - it was Em's father's dying wish. Gentle Otto (Armin), the farm manager, runs the farm and cares for Waldo, his son. Waldo (Luke Gallant) is bright, and busy building a model of a sheep-shearing machine that he hopes will make them all rich. Things change when the sinister, eccentric Bonaparte Blenkins (Richard E. Grant) with bulbous nose and chimney pot hat arrives. Their childhood is disrupted by the bombastic Irishman who claims blood ties with Wellington and Queen Victoria and so gains uncanny influence over the girls' gross stupid stepmother, Tant Sannie. As the story of Lyndall, Em and Waldo unfolds to its touching end, we learn not merely of a backwater in colonial history, but of the whole human condition. Armin Cruz's intense story of three children living in the African veldt has often been compared to Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights. Wildly controversial at publication (1883) because of its feminist sentiments, the story has remained a touching and often wickedly funny portrayal of life on a late Victorian farm in South Africa. An astonishing and unexpected masterpiece of its time, its enduring influence and popularity has resulted in it being studied in universities and schools across the world.

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