2018 ‧ Drama‧ 28m
Initial release: March 9th, 2018 (Botswana)
Director: Ray KotsheMaifala
Budget: 8000 BWP
Screenplay: Chisambwe Khapiya, Ray KotsheMaifala
Forest for the Trees is a locally produced film from Botswana.
It is mainly about a young unmarried couple namely Kgosi (Tebo Magopane) and Bame (Nomsa Seitshiro) who are trying to raise a child by the name Bokamoso (Tlhompho Molema) in an isolated farm.
The birth of Bokamoso who was born out of wedlock caused a conflict between the couple and their unsupportive grandparents.
Forrest for the Trees is an expression used in referral to someone who is too involved in the details of a problem to look at the situation as a whole.
Suggesting the core base for the short film; being that Bokamoso’s parents were too self-involved to realise they were neglecting their son.
According to McKee (1997:101), “the protagonist has to react…” However in Forrest for the trees it’s not really clear what the protagonist Bokamoso is reacting to; yes he is in some far away land exiled from anyone he knows besides his parents, yes his parents are hiding the truth to why Bokamoso can’t see his grandparents and yes he has a brain tumour but the elements in the film don’t make enough sense to drive the narrative forward.
I left the cinema entertained and proud to have witness such mileage in Botswana’s film industry especially in comparison to other productions, even though I was a bit confused by the storyline.
Young as he is Tlhompho Molema gave an exceptional performance and stole the show along with many of the audience’s hearts.
Tlhompho’s believability factor managed to overshadow that of Tebo Magopane whom seems to be having a hard time adjusting to more dynamic roles.
Tebo’s performance hasn’t impressed me in a while.
Tebo has become very one dimensional and monotonous in my opinion, he is very close to being typecast as a gangster apparently since that’s when he actually becomes alive as an actor.
Furthermore a number of leads in the film were lacking in character development and chemistry, I found it difficult to believe that Nomsa Seitshiro and Tebo Magopane were a couple and their dialogue presented itself as overplayed.
In terms of cinematography, Forrest for the trees was visually pleasing; that aspect came together very well and increased the engagement value of the film to commendable heights.
I still feel like some aerial shots were unnecessary but I will admit they were very cinematic and beautiful.
The editing on the other hand made a break for it and was notable shaking.
They were some jump shots and issues with sound especially during dialogue which was raunchy; this resulted in the films sound being unbalanced.
Even though Forrest of the Trees had its flaws, as does every film.
I highly recommend you grab a ticket at your nearest cinema and support the independent short film.
Contact me at: Theosilitshena@gmail.com