In a first for South Africa, compelling Afrikaans Muslim feature film “Barakat” bagged a prestigious win in the US.
Set in the Cape Flats, the film won the “Best Narrative Feature” award at the 23rd Reel Sisters of the Diaspora film festival.
Directed by Amy Jephta and produced by Ephraim Gordon of PaperJet Films, “Barakat” looks at the question of how a family moves on after the death of their father.
It tells the story of widowed Aisha Davids who has to preserve the peace between her four sons after they all still struggle to come to terms with the death of their father, two years after.
As sons Zunaid, Zaid, Yaseen and Nur return to the family home to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr (or Labarang as it’s called in Cape Town) the celebration that marks the end of the month-long dawn-to-sunset fasting of Ramadan, they realise that they have never really dealt with their father’s death and the void he has left behind.
Each son’s unprocessed pain manifests in how they are constantly fighting with each other, saddening their mother as she tries to move on with her own life.
Although the film focuses on the Davids’ family drama, there are many laugh-out-loud moments in the gripping contemporary tale.
“Barakat” was filmed in Lansdowne and Athlone on the Cape Flats and features one of the local mosques.
Veteran actress Vinette Ebrahim plays the role of the matriarch, Aisha Davids, while the four boys are played by Joey Rasdien, Mortimer Williams, Keeno-Lee Hector and Danny Ross.
Also included in the cast are Quanita Adams, Bonnie Mbuli, Leslie Fong and June van Merch.
The Reel Sisters of the Diaspora film festival is the first Academy Qualifying Film Festival devoted to women of colour and has in the past has awarded industry players like Issa Rae (Awkward Black Girl) and Tamara Tunie (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit).
“The Reel Sisters Festival is dedicated to showcasing women’s experiences from a global perspective.
It celebrates the art of film-making by women of colour and offers a glimpse into the often missing, historical and psychological elements of womanhood, religion, government and societal development from a female perspective.
We are delighted that “Barakat” has won this prestigious award as the film challenges the preconceived narratives around the Cape Flats and Coloured communities, and shifts the focus away from violence and onto the celebration of life and culture, and the importance of family,” said director Jephta.
“Barakat” is scheduled for release in cinemas in South Africa in May 2021.