Film Review: Strength of ‘Life, Above All’ Found in Khomotso Manyaka

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CHICAGO – As long as one person is inflicted with HIV, or full-blown AIDS, the crisis will never be averted, despite less of a profile in America and Europe. Africa is still in the midst of dealing with the epidemic, and Khomotso Manyaka portrays a symbol of that struggle in the enlightening “Life, Above All.” Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

Manyaka plays a 12 year old girl, forced to care for her entire family once the disease overtakes her mother. Her journey through this situation becomes a symbol for all of Africa, and the world, as rejection from friends and fellow villagers force her to expose uncover secrets in searching for the mother that is forced into exile. Manyaka’s natural performance, both innocent and strong, represents a simple plea for humanity during a moment of truth.

Manyaka is Chanda, a bright and sensible soul in the midst of lower middle class circumstances and family distress. Forced out of school to care for her two siblings while her mother (Lerato Mvelase) takes ill, Chanda finds solace in her friend Esther (Keaobaka Makanayne) and neighbors like Mrs. Tata (Harriet Manamelam). As the illness of Chanda’s mother deepens, she finds the people in her small village rejecting the family.

The mother is exiled from the village, unbeknownst to Chanda (her aunt is temporarily caring for the family). This angers the young girl, and she defiantly leaves her homeland to search for the severely ill matriarch. What she will learn on the path to finding her will eventually touch everyone, from the villagers to Mrs. Tata, and eventually her own lost female forebear.

“Life, Above All” continues its limited release in Chicago on September 2nd. See local listings for theaters and show times. Featuring Khomotso Manyaka, Lerato Mvelase, Keaobaka Makanayne and Harriet Manamela. Adapted by Dennis Foon, directed by Oliver Schmitz. Rated PG-13”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Life, Above All”

Khomotso Manyaka as Chanda in ‘Life, Above All’
Khomotso Manyaka as Chanda in ‘Life, Above All’
Photo credit: Sony Pictures Classics

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Life, Above All”

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