In “Barakat”, an aging matriarch aims to bring together her fractured, dysfunctional family over Eid-al-Fitr to break the news about her new romance.
Directed by Amy Jephta and produced by Ephraim Gordon, the film started as a comedy and ended up being about grief.
How does a family move on after the death of a father? That is the question at the heart of South Africa’s first Muslim film in Afrikaaps.
When matriarch Aisha Davids decides to accept a marriage proposal, she devises a plan to break the news to her four sons over Eid. The only problem is that the two eldest sons have been at loggerheads since their father passed away and refuse to be in the same room at the same time.
Her big reveal is spoiled when the boys hear via the grapevine about their mother’s pending nuptials and come together to voice their disapproval of the match. Now it’s up to Aisha, her fiancé, and her daughters in law to bring the sons around to her way of thinking using the one thing they can all agree on – the barakat.
Barakat, an Arabic word meaning blessings, is a story about celebrating life, culture, and the importance of family.
The cast includes: Vinette Ebrahim as Aisha Davids, Leslie Fong as Albertus Meyer, Joey Rasdien as Zunaid Davids, Bonnie Mbuli as Gwyneth and, Quanita Adams as Ra-eesah Davids.
Jephta said: “At first sight, we appeared to want to tell a light-hearted story about a family of feuding brothers brought together to sabotage their mother’s love life. What the film actually wanted to be about, is how we deal with the loss of one of our own – in this case, a father and patriarch.
“The story became about a family grappling with a legacy that has left an empty seat at their table. For me, it is about how we honour familial, collective memory even as life moves on. That difficulty, of ‘moving on’ from the death of a loved one, is a universal theme that speaks to our humanity anywhere in the world. Perhaps that’s why the story we gravitated toward telling was to explore and unpack that grief.”
Barakat was shot completely on location in Athlone, Gatesville, and surrounding Cape Flats areas, depicting a side of Cape Town – and specifically the Cape Flats – rarely seen in South African films.
Jephta said: “It was important to both of us to depict the Cape Muslim community in a positive light. The Cape is a melting pot of cultures, with an exciting diversity in our communities, and we wanted to show people that regardless of faith, they can watch the film and proudly say ‘this is us’. It was important to us that everyone on screen sounded authentic and spoke ‘Afrikaaps’ the way we know it from our homes and amongst our friends.
“The script is peppered with those phrases and words that are unique to our culture. We wanted to portray the richness of what it means to be from the Flats, but seen through a different lens.”
Barakat is set to be released in South Africa on 28 May 2021.
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