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Film Review: ‘Kapana’

Director: Philippe Talavera
Screenplay: Senga Brockerhoff, Mikiros Garoes
Cast: Adrino Visagie, Simon Hanga, Chanwill Vries, Elize de Wee, Mikiros Garoes, Jeremiah Jeremiah, Felicity Celento, Albertina Hainane, Foreversun Haiduwah, Lukas Paulus

Rating: ★★★

Apart from unapologetically taking male same-sex relationships to the silver screen, Philippe Talavera’s Kapana shows its worth by not deriding HIV. In so many ways the film is an intimate, charming queer-themed romantic drama which offers a fresh take on HIV/AIDS in the queer community.

Being another film from the activist group, Ombetja Yehinga Organisation (OYO), Kapana can thrust HIV/AIDS onto the Namibian silver screen with its message of acceptance and love. Not problematic in delivering its message, the film was crafted with a compelling screenplay which helps make this a non-generic story that engages its audiences on a personal level.

Simon Hanga in Kapana

Kapana explores the love story between two Namibians who come from different walks of life. Award-winning actor Adriano Visagie stars in the film as George, an HIV positive gay man who falls in love with Simeon (Simon Hanga), a closeted Kapana (grilled beef strips) vendor. The film deserves applause for not relying on the popular and often true trope of homophobic, unsupportive family and friends. George, being an openly gay man receives great support and love from his family as seen through his mother (Felicity Celento), aunt (Elize de Wee), brother (Chanwill Vries) and coworkers played by Mikiros Garoes and Foreversun Haiduwah. The relationships between these friends and family offer a fresh and much-needed narrative on same-sex relationship, especially in Namibia which still criminalizes the sexual relationships between two men under the outdated sodomy law.

Simon Hanga and Adriano Visagie in Kapana.

Kapana is a win for director Talavera but most importantly because of his collaborative take on this film. He employed Senga Brockerhoff and Mikiros Garoes to craft the storyline and using one of the country’s best cinematographerS (Kit Hoffman) and film editors (Haiko Boldt) to put together the film. This film is in so many ways much better than the director’s 2018 film, Salute! and signals a lot of growth in the director’s film career.

While the film was put together impressively and its message communicated very smoothly, I can however not say the same about the performances which were stale and forced. This film had the potential of being very emotional and gripping, however, that aspect fell flat due to the lacklustre performances which I suppose come from the film requiring so much vulnerability that almost all actors just couldn’t pull off. ‘Fake acting’ and overacting does nothing but ruin films and Kapana had an abundance of this. Alas, it was refreshing to see newcomer actors Hanga and Vries give such stunning performances at their first go and equally refreshing to see the versatile side of de Wee.

But Kapana is worthy of your time and will give you a different look into queer relationships, relationships with someone living with HIV while highlighting the power of love.

If you want to see Kapana, there are still a couple of screenings at Ster Kinekor Grove Mall, Windhoek on 14 ,15 & 18 August 2020. Time:18:00. Price: N$60.00.

Watch: Official Trailer Of Kapana

Kapana, director and producer Philippe Talavera’s half-length drama exploring themes of love, secrecy, fears and commitment will have its official premiere on 6 August at Ster Kinekor Grove Mall, Windhoek.

The LGBT-themed film follows a love story between an insurance broker and a meat (kapana) vendor and aims to raise awareness on social issues like HIV/AIDS- as is with most Ombetja Yehinga Organisation (OYO)-produced work.

Official Poster of Kapana (2020)

Kapana was written for the screen by Senga Brockerhoff (Encore) and Mikiros Garoes (The Date) and stars Adriano Visagie, Simon Hanga, Mikiros Garoes, Felicity Celento (#LANDoftheBRAVEfilm), Elize de Wee (#LANDoftheBRAVEfilm), Foreversun Haiduwah (The Third Will), Albertina Hainane (The Third Will), Jeremiah Jeremiah (Salute!), Lukas Paulus, and Chanwill Vries.

The Director of photography is Kit Hoffmann, with Post Production done by Wojtek Majewski and Editing by Haiko Boldt.

This week, the film gave us a glimpse into the film with a stunning trailer. The trailer comes with an official soundtrack by Micheal Pulse and Ponti Dikuua.

Watch the exciting trailer here:

Kapana (2020) Official Trailer

Kapana: Exclusive First Look At Philippe Talavera’s New Romantic-Drama

The new year comes with yet another OYO film. This time, Director Philippe Talavera has partnered with two female writers Senga Brockerhoff (Encore) and Mikiros Garoes (The Date) to bring you a new drama exploring themes around love, secrecy, fears and commitment and Namib Insider has all the deets.

Adriano Mikiros Foreversun small
BTS: Adriano Visagie, Mikiros Garoes and Foreversun Haiduwah in Kapana. (Images: Provided)

Adriano Visagie (Salute!) stars as the lead in this film about two polar opposites who fall in love and The film looks at the fabric of society and some of the fears surrounding it, closely looking at what is forbidden or morally acceptable.

“It as an unconventional positive Namibian love story – pun intended,” explains Talavera. “As you know at OYO we use arts to create social awareness. For this project we had a specific brief- at this point, I can’t say more about it without revealing too much, but it is very different from the projects we have worked on in the past. We, therefore, felt we needed to outsource the screenplay.”

Talavera says he is a huge fan of both Brockerhoff and Garoes, who are both “outstanding scriptwriters and I feel utterly privileged they agreed to work on this project and took up this challenge.”

Apart from Visagie, who won Best Actor Southern Africa at the Sotigui Awards 2019 in Burkina Faso for his role in Salute!, Kapana stars actress Felicity Celento (#LANDoftheBRAVEfilm), Elize de Wee (#LANDoftheBRAVEfilm), Foreversun Haiduwah (The Third Will), Albertina Hainane (The Third Will), Jeremiah Jeremiah (Salute!), newcomers Lukas Paulus, Simon Hanga and Chanwill Vries. Garoes also extends versatility by being co-writer and actor in the film.

Actor Simon Hanga
Simon Hanga in Kapana

On working with so many talented actors Talavera confesses it was a bit overwhelming, adding that it is the most prestigious cast OYO has ever had.

“I had wanted to work with Felicity for a long time for instance– so it was a dream come true. As usual, I really liked the fact that most experienced actors shared their knowledge with newer ones. The dynamic on set was really good,” Talavera says.

Cinematographer Kit Hoffman who has done an amazing job on the Baxu and the Giants will shoot the film with Haiko Boldt as editor. Boldt has done works on numerous films, including #LANDoftheBRAVEfilm, Salute! and Kukuri. Jacques ‘Kauna’ Hoabeb, who also worked on Kukuri was the sound engineer.

Shooting pic small
Cast and crew of Kapana at work

“With this film, we hope to challenge stereotypes and create a beautiful love story,” Talavera says about Kapana, which is expected to release a trailer around April/May 2020.

So yes, the film just doesn’t sound interesting, it also promises to look and feel great!

KAPANA NOTES:

  • Genre: Romantic-Drama
  • Release Date: 6 August 2020
  • Produced/Financed: ViiV/ Positive Action & Ombetja Yehinga Organisation (OYO)
  • Length: 45-60 minutes long
  • Director: Philippe Talavera
  • Screenplay: Senga Brockerhoff, Mikiros Garoes
  • Editor: Haiko Boldt
  • Cinematography: Kit Hoffman