Toorbos, directed by Rene van Rooyen focuses on South Africa’s Knysna forest. Adapted from the novels by Dalene Matthee, born 1938 in Riversdal, South Africa, the movie premiered this month. Dalene wrote a series of four books that related to the impact of a gold rush on the Outeniqua forest. Of course, it also impacted the Knysna elephants. Now Toorbos just received a nomination for the 2021 Academy Awards.
Toorbos stars Elani Dekker, Stiaan Smith, Ira Blanckenberg, and more
Toorbos isn’t the first successful one from Dalene. In fact, Circles in a Forest hit the screen in 1989. Similarly, “Toorbos explores the uprooting of a young forest woman and her community during the time of the last forest inhabitants of South Africa’s Knysna forest of the 1930s,” IMDb noted. The plotline follows Karoliena who marries a man from town. Of course, it’s a bit of eye-opener for her. But, she discovered that all that glitters really isn’t gold.
In fact, in the movie, people follow her realization that progress actually comes with oppression and a cult-like belief in the power of money. How does she adapt? And, can she remain true to herself? One reviewer on IMDb, @ harkervilleknysna, said, “Toorbos was absolutely beautiful. It captured the true spirit of the Knysna forest and its people. The Knysna forest (any forest for that matter) is a place for healing and finding ourselves. Well done on this piece of art. Definitely one of the top South African movies I’ve seen.”
Congratulations to Rene van Rooyen's "Toorbos" which is South Africa's official entry for the Best International Feature Film Award for the 2021 Academy Awards.
— National Film & Video Foundation (@nfvfsa) November 17, 2020
Nomination for Academy Awards 2021
The news about the Academy Award nomination came via the National Film & Video Foundation. They tweeted, “Congratulations to Rene van Rooyen’s “Toorbos” which is South Africa’s official entry for the Best International Feature Film Award for the 2021 Academy Awards.”
The trailer which dropped on YouTube reveals the movie’s dubbed into English via subtitles. The movie shows the conflict that Karoliena undergoes as she felt torn between the forest and her new life. And of course, that results in conflict. She recalls that living in the forest felt like “being awake in a dream.” Well, the life of those days passed by and these days, the disturbed areas undergo rehabilitation. However, the famous elephants that lived there dwindled away.
Knysna forest exploitation
The Knysna forest exploitation started in the 1700s. And, the settlers who lived there cleared the timber and also planted crops. Despite the best efforts of conservationists, World Wildlife Organisation reports that only occasional elephants are seen, and their population’s no longer viable.
Toorbos takes viewers back into those early days when elephants haunted the beautiful forest, and people lived an isolated life in a unique world.
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