Modest, pleasing indie from South Africa follows a just orphaned 10 yr-old Zulu boy (Lucky) who leaves his village to join his uncle in the city. Unwelcome in his new home, and with the money his mother left for schooling already grabbed by the uncle, Lucky’s run out of options before he’s unpacked his small bag of possessions. But, determined to play a cassette tape message left by his mother, he courts the friendship of an elderly Indian widow in the rundown apartment complex. (He’s spotted a tape player in her home.) Together, they achieve a wary sort of surrogate relationship, teasing out small favors and secrets as Lucky tries for emotional/physical contact which the old lady vigorously repels. Old habits of caste & apartheid separatism still run strong for her. Generously handled by director Avie Luthra and well acted (Indian ‘granny’ Jayashree Basavaraj is exceptional, and Sihle Dlamini’s Lucky is as sturdy, smart & stubborn as he looks), the film may not entirely convince, but its tough-minded sentiment is very winning.
SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: This film is available in the Film Movement series of world cinema. (Often Third World cinema.) A group that rates a high percent of titles not just worthy, but good.