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Harvesters (The)

Country: South Africa | France | Greece | Poland, Language: Afrikaans | English, 100 mins

Original Title

Die Stropers
  • Director: Etienne Kallos
  • Writer: Etienne Kallos
  • Producer: Sophie Erbs; Michael Auret;Thembisa Cochrane; Etienne Kallos

CGiii Comment

A mesmerising portrait of adolescence...with 'Janno' the perfect and 'Pieter' the prodigal.

Etienne Kallos is relentless with the religious metaphors...this is an Eden, stifled by religion, stunted by bigotry...the land where the story of Cain and Abel is played out.

These two young men are exact opposites...yet, brought together by a consequence, not of their making. Those who created this situation are - in their own minds - beyond reproach. After all, they are doing God's work!

This is a film that has much to say about South Africa, about the pious [Free State] Afrikaners, about adoption and fostering, about budding sexuality...yet, to great effect, uses words sparingly. This is all about the atmosphere...with mood and majesty taking centre-stage.

Janno, hard-working, polite, respectful, obedient and gay. Pieter, younger, troubled, manipulative, street-savvy and gay-when-it-suits. Both have that youthful is infectious, the other is expected. There are dichotomies everywhere is this film, some are subtle and drift by almost unnoticed. Some slap your face, they are so brazen!

To watch Brent Vermeulen [as Janno] is as intimate as it is revealing, a gifted young actor he most certainly is. As he tries to reconcile when all that he feels, all that he believes crashes down [in slow motion] upon his young shoulders...until his pride and his belief are extinguished. A tragedy...not of his making...but, by those beyond reproach.

A heartbreak delivered - with great skill - by actor and director working perfectly together.

After a few short films and a significant absence from filmmaking, this is Etienne Kallos' debut feature...all we can say is: It was worth the wait.

At times hypnotic, often harsh...and, oh so very chilling and sad. This is a work of artistry by an artist who has much to say...let's hope, Mr Kallos will not take too much time before he talks to us again.


The(ir) Blurb...

Janno is an obedient and emotionally fragile Afrikaans teenager whose world unravels when his strict, Christian farmer parents bring a manipulative street-orphan called Pieter home to their remote cattle farm to foster. To Janno this mysterious changeling seems little more than an animal with his drug withdrawal symptoms, head lice and later his sexual appetites.

Nevertheless Janno does what he is told and makes Pieter into his brother- their brotherhood ultimately becoming a power-struggle so subversive and dangerous that it threatens to destroy Janno’s family and everything he holds dear.

Set during the annual maize harvest in the remote Free State region of South Africa. The harvesters explores the rites of passage into adulthood for a lost generation of Afrikaans youths - the first generation to be born outside of the Apartheid system - as they struggle to move into adulthood midst the chaos that is postcolonial Africa.

Cast & Characters

Brent Vermeulen as Janno
Alex van Dyk asPieter
Juliana Venter as Marie
Morné Visser as Jan
Erica Wessels as Anel
Benré Labuschagne as Hennie
Danny Keogh as Oupa
Roxanna Kerdachi as Little sister
Biané Hattingh as Little sister
Barné Hattingh as Little sister
Mpume Mthombeni as Alina
Louis Minnaar as Tienus
Jakkie Groenewald as Older Afrikaans man