The Man with the Heavy Leg is the first short film from emerging South African director Natasja Fourie. The 12-?minute film was shot on location in Cape Town, in collaboration with local production company Groundglass and the South African NFVF.
This dramatic piece of cinema, which is a modern adaption of the inspiring short story “The Man with the Heavy Leg” written by the notable author Jan Rabie, is set for international release later in 2015 and has been accepted to the prestigious Cannes Short Film Corner. The film confronts themes of guilt and consequence; themes Fourie feels are as relevant today as when Rabie penned it.
“The story is about our hesitance to help others and the guilt we suffer subsequently,” says Fourie. “In South Africa we come face to face with the helpless, the needy and the most vulnerable people of society on a day to day basis. We have become numb to this inhumane living and it has created an unhealthy society where everyone, those who have and those who have not, tend to fend for themselves.”
Fourie undertook to adapt the screenplay herself and relished the challenge of bringing the story to screen in an honest, provocative and original way. “The story is typically modernist, but instead of portraying the plight of the alienated post Second World War individual, I have focused on the similarly disaffected individuals in post Apartheid South Africa,” she says. The film stars three of South Africa’s most esteemed actors including Albert Maritz, Deon Lotz and Sello Maake. Maritz is best known for his role in Invictus (2009) and more recently the much-?lauded Skoonheid (2011).
Director of Photography Clive Sacke was attracted to Fourie’s vision and the challenge posed by translating it into film. Sacke, a seasoned and highly regarded DOP, brought with him a wealth of experience. The sound track which adds a dramatic backbeat to the finished work, was composed by the exceptional South African musician Gerdus Oosthuizen.
Production Design and Art Direction fell to Andrew McCarthy, who previously worked on season 4 of hit US Series Homeland. Andrew Says “It was extremely important that the sets and background delivered a tone and mood that would give the story and actors precedence but still be visually stimulating to the viewer.
Post Production was handled by Framestore’s Executive Producers David Hay and Chris Sharpe who are renowned for their ability to bring fineness to the finished product Janette de Villiers, Executive Producer at Groundglass applauded Fourie’s visual dexterity.
“It was amazing to see how well Natasja communicated and how easy she made it for us to ‘see’ her film -? that is something so many people take years to learn to do as a director. It is incredible seeing it in someone so young.”
Fourie and De Villers are currently developing a slate of shorts. Fourie is also to direct “Blood In the Water”, an adaption of her father’s critically acclaimed play.