As I announced just over a month ago, Darrell Roodt’s latest work (not Winnie), titled Umfaan (or Little One), is South Africa’s submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar category.
At the time of that late September post, I didn’t have a lot of info on the film; it didn’t even have an IMDB listing, nor was it listed on Roodt’s IMDB or IMDBPro pages.
Recapping what I did find… the film tells the story of a child rape victim left for dead in a township near Johannesburg, and is eventually found and rescued by an older woman, who becomes very close to the little girl, and decides to launch her own investigation into the girl’s rape.
In a recent interview with Roodt, the director said that he was moved by a real-life occurence that inspired the film’s story, which he called “a film for the new South Africa.”
It’s worth noting that since South Africa first submitted a film for Oscar consideration in 1989, a total of 8 films have been submitted, and of those 8 titles, 2 have made the final short list of films nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film – the first being another Darrell Roodt film, titled Yesterday (2004), and a year later, Gavin Hood’s Tsotsi, which ended up winning the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 78th Academy Awards – the only South African film to do so.
In praising this year’s selection, the South African selection committee described it as “a universal story made local… a poignant, moving and minimalist narrative which is unapologetically South African.“
With descriptions like these (Roodt calling it “a film for the new South Africa,” and the committee’s “unapologetically South African“), I certainly hope it heads west, so I can see it.
A trailer has surfaced, and it’s embedded below: