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LIFE, ABOVE ALL (GELIEBTES LEBEN)

LIFE, ABOVE ALL
Scene from LIFE, ABOVE ALL (photo © Dreamer Joint Venture GmbH/Alsbrik, 2010)

In the dusty small town of Elandsdoorn, a South African township not far from Johannesburg, life is simple and serene. A prevailing sense of deep pride tightly bonds together the entire community – but beware to those who step out of line.

12-year-old Chanda is a hardworking promising young student with a bright future, but her life changes dramatically when her baby sister unexpectedly dies. Heartbroken, Chanda's mother, Lillian, in turn becomes severely ill. Her stepfather drowns himself in alcohol, leaving the young girl to take care of her two smaller siblings. Meanwhile, the formerly friendly neighbors become increasingly distant and gossip spreads.

"Auntie" Tafa does what she can to help by getting Lillian to leave town, but not even "Auntie" is immune to the cloud of fear filtering across Elandsdoorn. Suspecting that the community's irrational ostracism has to do with her mother's illness and the death of her baby sister, Chanda demands answers but is met with stubborn silence. Unwilling to bear the weight of secrecy any longer, Chanda sets out to face a deeply engrained, unspoken taboo.


Oliver Schmitz was born in 1960 in South Africa and studied Fine Arts in Cape Town. Active both in writing and directing, he has repeatedly treated themes from his native country, such as AIDS and apartheid. Among his award-winning films are MAPANTSULA (1987), JO'BURG STORIES (documentary, 1997), and HIJACK STORIES (2000). He was invited to shoot a segment of the episodic film PARIS, JE T'AIME (2006). His recent projects include the award-winning comedy series TÜRKISCH FÜR ANFÄNGER (TV, 2005, 2006, 2008) and DOCTOR'S DIARY (TV, 2006, 2007).
Genre Drama
Category Feature
Year of Production 2010
Director Oliver Schmitz
Screenplay Dennis Foon
Cinematography Bernhard Jasper
Dirk Grau
Ali N. Askin
Christiane Rothe
Cast Keaobaka Makanyane, Tinah Mnumzana, Harriet Manamela, Lerato Mvelase, Khomotso Manyaka
Producer Oliver Stoltz
Co-Producers Thomas Reisser, Greig Buckle, Dan Schlanger
Production Company Dreamer Joint Venture Filmproduktion/Berlin, in co-production with Senator Film Produktion, Enigma Pictures/Cape Town, Niama Film/Stuttgart
Length 105 min
Original Version
 Sepedi
Subtitled Version English
Sound Technology Dolby Digital
Festivals Cannes 2010 (Un Certain Regard), Giffoni 2010, Durban 2010, Rio de Janeiro 2010, Golden Horse Taipei 2010, Palm Springs 2011, Miami 2011, Sprockets Toronto 2011, San Francisco 2011, Sydney 2011
Awards Prix François Chalais Cannes 2010, Best South African Feature Durban 2010
With backing from German Federal Film Board, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, German Federal Film Fund, Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, BKM, DTI South Africa
German Distributor Senator Film Verleih/Berlin

World Sales
Bavaria Media International
http://www.bavaria-media.com

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