Movie Review - 'White Wedding' Celebrates Love, South African-Style Last year, the South African sci-fi film District Nine opened in the states to blockbuster grosses. Now another film from South Africa, the road-trip comedy White Wedding, is attracting international notice. The movie follows an engaged couple who weather a series of zany obstacles over the course of their wedding day. (Recommended)
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'White Wedding' Celebrates Love, South African-Style

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'White Wedding' Celebrates Love, South African-Style



'White Wedding' Celebrates Love, South African-Style

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(Soundbite of song, White Wedding)


From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. Im Melissa Block.

Ever since the movie Wedding Crashers�turned into a summertime smash a few years ago, hot weather has been a time for cineplex nuptials. Two summers ago,�Mamma Mia�marched down the theater aisle. Last summer it was�The Hangover. And now, South Africa has brought us�a comedy called White Wedding.

Our critic Bob Mondello says its a charmer.

BOB MONDELLO: Wedding planning Cape Town-style sounds a lot like wedding planning everywhere - modern, sophisticated bride hires wedding planner to help balance her own ideas with those of her more traditional family.

(Soundbite of film, White Wedding)

Ms. ZANDILE MSUTWANA (Actress): (As Ayanda) But cant you just move everything in...

Mr. KENNETH NKOSI (Actor): (As Elvis) Dont go there. I have done everything I can. Believe me, I have pushed them to the absolute limit.

Ms. MSUTWANA: Inviting so few people.

Mr. NKOSI: You think 120 guests is a few people?

Ms. MSUTWANA: Yeah. A township wedding is 300 or 400 at least.

Mr. NKOSI: But this is not a township wedding.

MONDELLO: Without the word township, that could be Cleveland, no? But if the tensions are universal, the specifics are strictly South African when Ayanda urges her intended, a sweet lug named Elvis, to hurry to Cape Town from Johannesburg. Like most grooms, Elvis thinks hes got all the time in the world - five whole days to cover a few hundred miles. But hes not counting on buses that leave without him, a best man whose girlfriend slashes their tires, and a granny who decides shell skip the wedding but send a goat instead.

(Soundbite of film, White Wedding)

(Soundbite of goat)

Mr. NKOSI: (As Elvis) No, you cant put this goat in the backseat, man. This is a leather seat, man (unintelligible).

MONDELLO: And then�theres the hitchhiking English tourist they pick up, who does not endear herself to Elvis by ranting about her recent breakup.

(Soundbite of film, White Wedding)

Ms. JODI WHITTAKER (Actress): (As Rose) Thank god I didnt marry him. I mean, who gets married these days anyway? My parents have been married for nearly 30 years. They havent had a conversation in about 29. Why bother?

Mr. NKOSI: (As Elvis) Well, for companionship, for comfort, home-cooked meals, raising kids together, you know. And knowing that you understand each other so well that you dont have to talk all the time.

Unidentified Man #1: Elvis is getting married on Saturday.

Ms. WHITTAKER: Oh, my god.

MONDELLO: As you might imagine, this white English girl traveling with two black men raises a few eyebrows in rural South Africa. And as it happens, that was the inspiration for making the film. Director Jann Turner, who is white, and her leading men Kenneth Nkosi and Rapulana Seiphemo came up with their screenplay after taking a cross-country trip of their own along much this same route. Finding whites only signs more than a decade after the end of apartheid had them thinking about the transitions the country was still in the process of making.

And because theyve incorporated things that happened to them on that real road trip, some very unlikely events feel perfectly authentic in the movie, including a visit to an Afrikaner bar where a guy who is furious about what he calls kaffirs sitting at his table ends up their buddy after a few beers.

(Soundbite of film, White Wedding)

Unidentified Man #2: I dont like people, but I like you.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Unidentified Man #2: I like you. (Singing in foreign language)

MONDELLO: Its easy to imagine how wrong this movie could go: how it could become all about race, how the grooms misadventures could make it feel like�The Hangover�played sideways, how the five languages spoken in the film could make the story splinter into pieces. But�White Wedding�is about connections, and it pulls them together in a film thats sweet, inclusive and sunny, a charmer filled with people who seem every bit as surprised as we are when they manage to look past surface differences and find reasons to bond.

Im Bob Mondello.

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