Monday, November 20, 2006

Review: Wah-Wah (Richard E. Grant, 2006)

This was the first film that I watched during the Golden Horse Film Festival.
Swaziland, a former-Brit-Colony was being handed over its autonomy for independence at the end of 60s. This is the era when a lot of British government officials or representatives were facing a big change of their lives, and so for their offspring. Based on the true story of Richard E. Grant, a brilliant English actor, raised and educated in South Africa (is he considered South African then? Who can tell me?), created this truthful and yet agonizing story about social, family values and the adolescence growing pains experienced himself. The feeling of being out casted although coming from one of the most respected family in Swaziland, he had to deal with his parents' divorce and developed a talent for puppeteering which, btw, could be considered as an escape in his real life, and a window for us to peek on the realistic side of British aristocrats in Swaziland before. I won't go on by re-telling the whole story but just to tell you how affected I felt while watching this film.
The cast was wonderful, including Gabriel Byrne, Miranda Richardson, Julie Walters and Emily Watson who even played an American!! Her American accent was brilliant and humorous (probably too smart for Americans). She really fits brought the character alive. Kudos go to the talented ( and face-twisted) Nicholas Hoult and Zax Fox who both played the alter-ego of the write/director himself.
Having been to South Africa in 2001, it was not strange for me seeing the beautiful mountainous terrains and landscape of southern Africa. Nor was I strange to the loyal and innocent domestic helpers. It was almost like a re-visit to the continent which has a special place in my heart. By the way, I was watching with one of my South African friend as well. The very intriguing and vivid African-English and their words-of-wisdom really amused me throughout the entire evening. The "hush-hush" and the "wah-wah" lingua were lively and spoke for themselves. (laugh)
Perhaps it's has a more personal touch in me but to be really honest, it's one of the few movies about Africa-Britain that I've seen which has a great literal touch of it. I really enjoyed and was deeply touched by the film. I should give it 4 stars.
I am starting to think about going back to Africa again...


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