One of the most anticipated local film releases of 2020 is Toorbos (Enchanted Forest). Based on the novel by Dalene Matthee, the story follows young Karoliena, a young woman on the cusp of adulthood. Part of the forest-dwelling community near Knysna, she begins a brave new chapter when a dapper gentleman from the town enters her life.
The coming-of-age drama with historical relevance is written and directed by Rene van Rooyen and stars Elani Dekker and Stiaan Smith. The primary focus is the uprooting of a young woman yet it’s set against the layered historical backdrop of Knysna in 1930s South Africa.
Reviewmyscript.com’s Stephen Aspeling, better known as Spling, had the pleasure of consulting on the project and it’s a wonderful and proud moment to see the film gearing up for its South African release. Having advised on the screenplay and an early edit of the film, Spling was able to offer some constructive feedback and notes to help identify key areas for improvement.
At the film’s unveiling at Silwerskermfees, one audience member compared it to The Grapes of Wrath. It’s a nuanced drama of great depth that goes beyond the confines of a local film. Covering many intricate elements of a culture clash and infusing the story with an underlying poetry, it demonstrates an uncommon maturity. It was nominated for Best Picture at the Camps Bay film festival, but Toorbos seems ahead of its time.