Friday, April 05, 2013

"Break Away": A laid off and bankrupt executive in South Africa finds both faith and competitive cycling

Break Away”,  (“Baroudeur”) directed by Morne Theunissen and Frans Conje, is a new “faith-based” film set in contemporary Capetown. South Africa.  Francois (Frans Cronje) is a media and advertising executive.  His employer suddenly goes bankrupt, resulting in the loss of his job and even his severance and perhaps due pay.  He doesn’t tell his wife (Marie Conje, apparently the actor’s real life spouse)  but soon debt collectors start to call, repossess his car and threaten foreclosure. 
In the meantime, he makes a little money doing bicycle deliveries around town on his old bike.  Three men start helping him redirect his life:  his wayward borther, a bicycle shop owner, and a pro-cyclist.  He enters the world of competitive road racing, and the climax of the film heads toward a scenically (wide screen anamophic) race in the plateaus and mountains near Capetown.
The film tends to softpedal the dialogue (and the South African accent is sometimes hard to understand for American viewers).  The music from Puccini’s opera Turandot figures into the background.  The faith-based discussion is kept low-keyed. 
The film, however, does make a lot of the fact that Francois, as to other characters in his company,  has a wife and family to support, and seems to reinforce the idea that people cannot be expected to remain in perfect control of their own life circumstances before they take on (sometimes sacrificial) responsibility for others.  The film would seem to counter an attitude of smugness.
The film should not be confused with the 1981 film “Breaking Away”, also about competitive biking (April 25, 2011 here).  This time, we don’t see the razor blades and shaving cream in the bathtub (nor do we want to).
The film appears in theaters April 23, 2013.  I was sent a screener by Word Films.  The link for the film is here.  

The DVD has an extra explaining The Ministry of Jacob’s Well, link.  
For today’s short film (unrelated to feature), try “Pushing Boundaries”, by    Vagabond Productions, YouTube link here. The film (13 min) concerns recreational sports for LGBT people in the Washington DC area.  

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