Running Time: 30 min. (Black and White) / Copyright Date: not given / Release Date: 2 October 1931 / Language: Afrikaans / Genre: Drama / Alternative Titles: none.
Though made in 1931, this short is set in 1914, a time when many young Afrikaners were leaving the rural areas to make their way to the big cities, and the time of the 1914 Rebellion against involvement in the war. It follows Tante Koester and her husband as they travel from their Bosveld home to Maraisburg in the hope of finding their son, Hendrik, from whom they haven’t heard for two years. Because they arrive late in the evening, they decide to spend the night in the waiting room at the station, where they are joined by a young woman who turns out to be their son’s ex-girlfriend. Late arrivals are a policeman and his prisoner, the latter being none other than their long-lost son....
Based on the one-act play In die Wagkamer by J.F.W. Grosskopf, this film by Joseph Albrecht has the distinction of being the first production shot with Afrikaans dialogue and despite being handicapped by its stage origins, is undeniably a milestone in the history of the South African cinema. Interestingly, a surviving production still shows the shooting title to have been "Little Mother", possibly because no-one behind the camera was Afrikaans-speaking. It took about a month to shoot and was shown to members of the Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Taal, Lettere en Kuns on 11 September 1931.
The old couple is played by two distinguished stage actors, Stephanie Fauré and Jean Plaat-Stultjes, and the film heralded the beginning of a long stage and film career for Pierre de Wet. Joan du Toit had also acted in the earlier Sarie Marais (Joseph Albrecht/1931), but made no further film appearances. C. (Carl) E. Richter, who played the policeman, was actually a member of the South African C.I.D. and would become the personal bodyguard of four of South Africa’s Prime Ministers.
Festivals & Awards
The Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Taal, Lettere en Kuns awarded medals of honour to a number of those involved for their contribution to the Afrikaans language.
Production Company: African Film Productions / Director: Joseph Albrecht / Screenplay: Joseph Albrecht & Stephanie Fauré, based on the play In die Wagkamer by J.F.W. Grosskopf / Cinematography: G.F. Noble / Sound Recording: S.C. Browning.
Binge, L.W.B. - Ontwikkeling van die Afrikaanse toneel (1832-1950)
Gutsche, Thelma - The history and social significance of motion pictures in South Africa 1895-1940
Le Roux, André I. & Fourie, Lilla – Filmverlede: geskiedenis van die Suid-Afrikaanse speelfilm
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