Saturday, October 09, 2004

Max and Mona

Meet Max Bua (Mpho Lovingo), 19 years of age, precocious jewel in the crown of the idyllic Zwartruggen's farm community, and the rising mourning star, on account of his extraordinary and magical talent for crying at funerals. Like his legendary grandfather before him, Max can melt a heart of stone and bring tears to the eyes of a killer. Even the dishonourably departed get a fitting farewell when Max "Max and Mona" Bua is in the house. Despite this heaven sent talent, Max has his sights set on becoming a doctor, but in order to achieve this dream, he must journey to the daunting metropolis of Johannesburg and begin his studies at University.

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The quaint community who hold him in such high esteem hail Max's departure with emotional fanfare. However, Max is addled with a sacred sacrificial goat that he needs to deliver to a wedding in Yeoville, a sleazy suburb in Johannesburg. The goat, aptly named Mona, has a penchant for creating mayhem in public areas that gets Max into more trouble than he needs.

Max's initial impressions of entering the super-charged city of Johannesburg, is one of awe and fear. Never in his life has he seen so many people charging like bloodhounds through a busy intersection, seemingly on some covert mission. It is in this mad throng of human traffic that Max bumps into Nozipho (Tumie Melani), a sexy siren who finds his naiveté somewhat appealing.

Instead of dropping off the goat as planned, Max walks smack bang into the middle of a dodgy police drug bust. As a result Max misses the cut-off time to pay for his tuition fees at University. Stranded with bleating Mona, Max turns to the only person he knows in town, his disreputable Uncle Norman (Jerry Mofokeng). He arrives at Norman's ramshackle digs in Soweto, only to become embroiled in a gangster face-off with feared township kingpin Razor (Percy Matsemela).

Heroically Max offers Razor his tuition money and consequently saves his Uncle Norman and his two laissez-faire pals Six (Coco Merckel) and Skeels (Seputla Sebogodi). They live to fight another day. Yet this is only the beginning of a thorny series of events, triggered by crooked Uncle Norman and his deadly plan to make a killing at funerals by exploiting his nephew's gift.

Title Max and Mona
Duration 98 min
Production Date 2004
Format HD and 35mm, Dolby Digital

Executive Producers Jeremy Nathan and Joel Phiri
Writer/Director Teddy Mattera
Additional Writing Greg Latter
Producer Tendeka Matatu
Director Of Photography Ivan Leathers
Production Designer Dimitri Repanis
Editor Kuing-Yuan (Henion) Han
Music Composer Phillip Miller
Production Company Ice Media /Ice Films

Key Cast

Max Mpho Lovinga
Uncle Norman Jerry Mofokeng
Nozipho Tumi Melamu
Six Coco Merckel
Skeel Seputla Sebugodi
Razor Percy Matsemela


Blogger Wessel said...

Kwailawai* had the misfortune of seeing Max and Mona at the London Film Festival (LMF).

It was dissapionting, and that sentiment were shared by Kwailawai's* co-cinema goers, at least two of whom walked out. (Albeit towards the end).

This was in spite and perhaps because of some colourfull camera work, with wonky angles and liberal use wide lenses and flashy editing. Max and Mona looked to be the child of the South African ad industry, where briliant lighthing, mediocre acting, shallow jokes and thin pathos can entertain briefly.

In a feature film these traits soon becomes tedious. And in the case of Max and Mona, tediousness set in after about 10 minutes. The story is so-so, the lines of the characters worse, often infantile. Notable was the inclusion of an arsenal of South African swear words, whose novelty never wore off, because it never was novel.

Something could have been saved if the characters had put in some excellent performances. They did not. The only performance of note was that of the undertaker's transvestite daughter - Toni.

To put it in Max and Mona's language - this movie is fokken kak.

5:27 PM  
Anonymous Tuelo said...

Max and Mona is a great movie, the concept, the acting, the works...

Who would have ever thought of the concept of laughing at people mourning... To me, that reflects pure artistry...

Once in a very long time we get to see a truly South African comedy, where politics and the apartheid humour is not featured... JUST PURE LAUGHS...

Well done to the producer the actors and the cast... especially my home girl... Tumi Melamu...

Putting it in max and mona's language... Max and Mona is fokken great... fokken enjoyable... Se monate tota...

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