TIFF review: Flatland

Film about race, class and gender in contemporary South Africa repeats its allegorical points a few too many times

FLATLAND CWC D: Jenna Bass. South Africa/Luxembourg/Germany. 117 min. Sep 11, 6:30 pm, Scotiabank 2 Sep 12, 9:15 pm, Scotiabank 4 Sep 13, noon, Scotiabank 1. Rating: NNN

Writer/director Bass follows her microbudget body-swapping drama High Fantasy with another minimalist study of race, class and gender in contemporary South Africa, this one riffing on Westerns and outlaws-on-the-run thrillers through the story of a young bride (Nicole Fortuin) who flees across the Karoo desert with her volatile, hugely pregnant best friend (Izel Bezuidenhout), pursued by a local cop (Faith Baloyi).

That description would seem to promise a faster-paced movie than Bass delivers. Flatland takes its time, and at two full hours its allegorical points seem to repeat a few times more than necessary. The basic bones of the story work, and all three leads are very watchable, but a tighter hand in the edit would not have hurt.

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