Blu-ray Life, Above All (Blu-ray 15792208),
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Life, Above All

  • PG-13
  • Blu-ray/DVD
  • 2 discs
  • Region 1 USA/CA (info)
  • A child tries to hold her family together against prejudice, disease, and ignorance in this drama from South Africa. Chanda (Khomotso Manyaka) is only 12 years old, but she's already been forced to take on many of the responsibilities of an adult in her household. Chanda's father is gone, her stepfather, Jonah (Aubrey Poolo), is an irresponsible alcoholic, and her mother, Lillian (Lerato Mvelase), has been physically and emotionally devastated by AIDS and the death of her youngest child. Despite Chanda's dire circumstances, most of her neighbors offer little sympathy, believing her mother's illness is the result of divine judgment against her, and her reputation isn't helped by the fact that one of her few loyal friends is Esther (Keaobaka Makanyane), a sharp-tongued prostitute. Mrs. Tafa (Harriet Manamela), an elderly member of the village, believes she can help Chandra by moving her mother out of the community, but the girl knows she needs her mother no matter how ill she may be, and sets out to find her and bring her back home. Adapted from a novel by Allan Stratton, LIFE, ABOVE ALL was an official selection at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.
  • Credits
    Thato Kgaladi, Keaobaka Makanyane, Harriet Manamela, Khomotso Manyaka, Mapaseka Mathebe
  • Critic Reviews
    4 stars out of 5 -- "[An] emotionally powerful work....Schmitz is aided too by Manyaka's outstanding work, her character rousingly confronting the bigotry of the adult world."
    Total Film

    "Lerato Mvelase's understated performance ensures that Lillian's struggle for survival has a quiet poignancy to it..."
    Sight and Sound

    "This is a modest film, and an affecting one."
    Wall Street Journal

    "[A] grave and quietly moving story....It tells a tale of resilience without platitudes about the triumph of the human spirit or without false promises about an unclouded future."
    New York Times

    3.5 stars out of 5 -- "This poignant coming of age drama personalizes South Africa's AIDS crisis....Thoughtful, emotionally resonant storytelling."
    Box Office

    4 stars out of 4 -- "Oliver Schmitz's LIFE ABOVE ALL earns the tears it inspires. The film is about deep human emotions, evoked with sympathy and love."
    Chicago Sun-Times

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