‘Die Windpomp’ a quirky mercurial genre butterfly

FANTASY ROMANCE: From left, Grethe Fox, Armand Greyling, Leandie du Randt, Marga van Rooy and Ian Roberts co-star in the Afrikaans comedy drama 'Die Windpomp'
FANTASY ROMANCE: From left, Grethe Fox, Armand Greyling, Leandie du Randt, Marga van Rooy and Ian Roberts co-star in the Afrikaans comedy drama ‘Die Windpomp’

DIE WINDPOMP. Director: Etienne Fourie. Starring: Michaela Von Seydlitz, Armand Greyling, Marga van Rooy, Grethe Fox, Ian Robertson. Showing at: Ster-Kinekor The Bridge – 4 Stars

DIE Windpomp (The Windmill) is a mercurial genre butterfly. What starts out as a quirky, campy and quaint off-beat comedy drama in the style of Wes Anderson, manages to swathe itself in a cocoon of Nicholas Sparks romance and mystery, before emerging as a fantasy romance with much deeper philosophical questions on the nature of love.

We follow the misadventures of Hendri, a young adult who stumbles upon a retirement village’s secret after moving in with his ailing grandfather.

Writer-director Etienne Fourie has composed an indie mystery that is entertaining, enchanting and surprising.

Die Windpomp toys with us, fluttering just out of reach of the net in an effort to avoid being boxed in.

Fourie sustains the first half of the film by introducing us to an array of colourful and comical characters, gently tugging at our heart strings with a blossoming romance.

Armand Greyling plays our hero, Hendri. He’s like Ashton Kutcher and Paul Dano rolled into one. Kutcher’s boyish charm and Dano’s quiet alienation make him fascinating to watch as we journey with his introverted yet quizzical character. He’s supported by the beautiful Leandie du Randt as Margot, a delightful and fun-loving girl next door. The two light up the screen with an unassuming on-screen chemistry.

The retirement village residents include: Marga van Rooy, who plays Tannie, a curious, devoted, doting and sincere neighbour. Ian Roberts supports as the village’s gruff retired doctor, peacemaker and unofficial team leader. While Grethe Fox gives life to the hyped-up and effervescent aerobics instructor, Miggie.

Die Windpomp is a strange, yet remarkably mature and inspiring South African film that breaks new ground thanks to the ambitions of American producer Chris Roland (Stander, Hotel Rwanda).

Fourie maintains the suspended reality by using special effects as a last resort, relying on subtle editing techniques to give the film its sense of magic.

This is an eclectic film that deserves your attention. There are a few moments and tonal shifts that don’t quite gel, mostly due to the complex genre mash-up, but there’s enough emotional depth and intellectual warmth to keep it delightfully enjoyable. – Stephen ‘Spling’ Aspeling

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