Film Review: Raaiselkind (Riddle Child)

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A delicate topic to say the least, autism affects 1 to 2% of people globally. While no studies have been done to determine the number in South Africa, Vicky Lamb, the national education facilitator of Autism South Africa, estimates that about one million people in this country is autistic (africacheck.org).

Based on Annelie Botes’ 2007 novel, Raaiselkind (Riddle Child) tackles this topic with sensitivity, while portraying the heartlessness we as humanity unfortunately possess.

A part of the story
Ingrid and Dawid Dorfling’s third child, Alexander, is autistic. A laatlammetjie (lateborn child), he is nothing more than an annoyance to his sisters. His ‘tantrums’, fits and the like irritate them to no end. Not only them, his grandparents (of whom we only hear via Ingrid), Ingrid’s (Diaan Lawrenson) friends, Dawid (Neels Clasen), and the churchgoers too. The only two people that understand Alexander (Ian Roelofs) are his mother and ‘other mum’, Miriam (June van Merch). When Alexander is found drowned in the bath at the age of nine, the police blames his mother. Fortunately she has one supportive friend in Günter (Anrich Herbst), on whose farm Alexander’s horse lives, and where he went to ride every Sunday.

What I thought
The characters in this emotionally charged film are credible and really make it easy for the viewer to feel with them – from the moments when things become too much for Ingrid; to Miriam’s unconditional love for Alexander; Dawid’s despondency; and Günter’s sometimes strict yet loving support of Ingrid.

Young Ian Roelofs is amazing in the role of Alexander – whether he’s ‘dancing’ to the hymns sung in Miriam’s church (where he is accepted); rhythmically making sounds by knocking a nail against a piece of iron; kicking for dear life; or screaming at the top of his lungs.

In addition to giving the viewer a glimpse into the lives of a family deeply affected by autism, the story also delves into the conditions of friendships, and questions how much relationships actually can endure.

The seaside setting with the constant blowing of the wind can be seen as a metaphor for Ingrid, who is probably praying that all her troubles could simply be blown away.

New talent such as Eldon van der Merwe also get a chance to shine in this brilliant local film.

Watch this movie if you’re ready to become emotionally invested. Click here to watch the trailer.

Feature image credit: imdb.com

Have you seen Raaiselkind? Please leave a comment below to tell me what you thought of the film.

Afrikaans

’n Netelige onderwerp om die minste te sê, outisme affekteer 1 tot 2% van mense regoor die wêreld. Alhoewel geen studies gedoen is om die aantal mense in Suid-Afrika te bevestig nie, skat Vicky Lamb, die nasionale onderwys-fasiliteerder van Autism South Africa, dat omtrent een miljoen mense in die land outisties is (africacheck.org).

Gebaseer op Annelie Botes se 2007-roman, Raaiselkind (Riddle Child) hanteer hierdie onderwerp met sensitiwiteit, maar wys terselfdertyd die gevoelloosheid van die mensdom uit.

’n Deel van die storie
Ingrid en Dawid Dorfling se derde kind, Alexander, is outisties. Die laatlammetjie is vir sy ouer susters niks meer as ’n irritasie nie. Sy ‘woede-aanvalle’, stuipe, ensovoorts irriteer hulle verskriklik. Vir hulle, sy ouma en oupa (van wie ons slegs hoor, via Ingrid), Ingrid (Diaan Lawrenson) se vriendinne, Dawid (Neels Clasen), en ook die kerkmense. Die enigste twee mense wat Alexander (Ian Roelofs) verstaan is sy ma en die oppas-ma, Miriam (June van Merch). Wanneer Alexander op die ouderdom van nege jaar dood in die bad aangetref word, blameer die polisie sy ma. Gelukkig het sy nog een vriend oor – Günter (Anrich Herbst), op wie se plaas Alexander se perd woon en waar hy elke Sondag gaan ry het.

My twee sent
Die karakters in hierdie emosioneel-aangedrewe fliek is geloofwaardig en maak dit vir die kyker maklik om saam met hulle te voel – van die oomblikke wanneer dinge te veel raak vir Ingrid; tot Miriam se onvoorwaardelike liefde vir Alexander; Dawid se moedeloosheid; en Günter’s se soms streng tog liefdevolle ondersteuning van Ingrid.

Jong Ian Roelofs is ongelooflik in die rol van Alexander – of hy ‘dans’ op die gesange wat hulle in Miriam se kerk sing (waar hy wel aanvaar word); ritmies geluide maak deur ’n spyker teen ’n stuk yster te kap; skop asof sy lewe daarvan afhang; of uit die dieptes van sy keelgat skree.

Behalwe dat die fliek vir die kyker ’n blik gee in die lewens van ’n familie wat diep deur outisme geaffekteer is, delf die storie ook in die sogenaamde voorwaardes van vriendskap, en vra dit mens af hoeveel verhoudings nou eintlik kan hanteer.

Die baie tonele wat langs die see afspeel met die alewig-waaiende wind kan as ’n metafoor gesien word vir Ingrid, wat waarskynlik bid dat haar probleme weggewaai kan word.

Nuwe talent soos Eldon van der Merwe kry ook die geleentheid om hulle vermoëns in hierdie briljante plaaslike fliek ten toon te stel.

Kyk die fliek as jy gereed is vir ’n tuimeltrein van emosies. Kliek hier om die lokprent te kyk.

Krediet vir foto: imdb.com

Het jy Raaiselkind gesien? Los asseblief jou kommentaar hier onder en laat my weet wat jy van die fliek gedink het.

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