My Father’s War, a totally unique new South African film, will be released nationwide on 5 August 2016.
This bilingual (Afrikaans/English) drama focuses on the broken relationship between a father and his rebellious teenage son.
The film is set in 2003 and 19-year-old Dap Smit (Edwin van der Walt) is constantly fighting with his father, Dawid (Stian Bam), a veteran of the Border War. The men don’t see eye to eye on anything, and there seems to be no hope for reconciliation between them. Dawid’s wife, Karina (Erica Wessels) is caught in the middle of their epic battle.
Then Dap has a series of dreams in which he is a combat soldier in the Border War in the 1980s. There he meets his father at the same age, and those dreams turn young Dap’s perception – and life – completely upside down. There’s no going back. But what is the way forward?
According to the producer, Peter Lamberti, and writer/director Craig Gardner, the biggest challenge during the film was to combine the theme of a broken relationship with the Border War – in other words, how to overcome the gap between a father and his son when the war occurred almost thirty years ago.
And to achieve this, Gardner introduced the instrumental dream sequences. He says: “Each dream was created to facilitate the unfolding story. Therefore, there are no gratuitous battle scenes. Rather, the war dreams are microcosms of real events married with fiction in order to reveal character or advance the storyline – little ‘mini-stories’ within the bigger story.”
Gardner continues, “The war has been used as a creative device to drive the story of the father and son towards a conclusion. We purposely do not take a moral standpoint on the conflict itself. This is not a Border War movie – it is a relationship drama, which is at the core of virtually every successful movie. And My Father’s War centres on the broken relationship between a father and his son.”
The filmmakers say, “We are hoping to reach as broad an audience as possible but most certainly wish for anyone who was touched by the war: soldiers, wives, husbands, children and parents to see it. It will hopefully be a cathartic experience, bringing back memories, exorcising ghosts and helping to bring more understanding and emotional healing to viewers – even those who had absolutely nothing to do with the war. Any parent and child will be able to relate to it on a personal level.”
Apart from Stian Bam, Edwin van der Walt and Erica Wessels, the movie also stars Neels Clasen, Hannes Muller, Meren Reddy, Fumani Shilubana, Jai’prakesh Shewram and David Rees.
My Father’s War releases nationwide in film theatres on 5 August 2016 and is distributed by Ster-Kinekor Entertainment.