When I first started watching Abraham I wasn’t sure what to feel or think about this movie or where it was going, but before I knew it I found myself captured by a truly captivating story, filled with raw emotion and wonderfully acted.
Abraham is directed by Jans Rautenbach, who begins the movie off with a narrative introducing us to the world we are about to discover – his world in 1983. A young Jans (Hannes Muller) working in Johannesburg and living in Kannaland in the Klein Karoo, making an 1100km commute to continue with the work he loved and being with his family in the home he had built, in the Dorp they fell in love with.
It is here on a return home one day where he encounters Abraham (DJ Mouton), a devoted father and husband that makes clay sculptures of animals in the hopes of selling them to provide for his wife, Katie (Chantel Phillipus) and daughter. Abraham had been waiting for Jans, or Oubie as he and the other coloured locals of Kannaland refer to Jans as – it’s basically their version of Oubaas. Abraham has created a Leopard for Jans and was in desperate need to sell the piece. The two encounter each other regularly like this as Abraham gradually worms into the hearts of Jans and his wife, Almeri (Franci Swanepoel).
Things are on the up for Abraham as Jans and Almeri let them live on the property, gives him a job and tries to nurture Abraham’s passion for sculpture and animals. Unfortunately he struggles to fully embrace this drive and passion while fighting to deal with his alcoholic wife who also suffers with mental illness, although defending her and standing with Katie through everything she can throw at him. But Abraham longs for more and wants to leave his mark in this world, and needs to express himself.
Abraham is a wonderful movie that tells a truly South African story. It’s characters are unique and authentic and played brilliantly by the lead cast. It is an honest look into the lives of so many people who suffered from poverty and the strong contrasts from those that didn’t. There are some beautiful scenes which capture the essence of the Klein Karoo and the score adds the perfect atmosphere.
DJ Mouton is brilliant as Abraham, being both light and playful and strong and silent. Chantel Phillipus gives a great performance as Katie and pulls off some powerful scenes. Overall everyone does a solid job and keep the authenticity of the era.
This movie wont be for everyone, especially if you don’t enjoy Afrikaans movies or subtitles but if you don’t mind either of that you will find a wonderful movie, performed fantastically by some gifted South Africans.
Abraham is available on DVD now.
Last Updated: May 3, 2016