AIFF 2013: The Forgotten Kingdom

In The Forgotten Kingdom, Atang (Zenzo Ngqobe) is a thuggish young man living in the South African city of Johannesburg. After finding that his estranged father has died, he makes the long journey back to his ancestral homeland of Lesotho to bury him.

While in Lesotho, Atang reconnects with his childhood friend Dineo (Nozipho Nkelemba) and the two form a close bond. His initial desire to return to “Joburg” begins to waiver. However, one day he goes to visit only to learn that she has moved North with her family. From there Atang embarks on an epic journey by horseback with a young orphan boy (Lebohang Ntsane) as a traveling companion to find Dineo.

The Forgotten Kingdom was written and directed by Andrew Mudge and filmed on location in both South Africa and Lesotho using mostly non-actors from the area. As the winner of the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature, the audience was treated with a Q&A session following the screening where Mudge discussed his experience making the film.

He describes the title as a play off of the full name of Losotho, which is Kingdom of Lesotho. Mudge says the title is looking at this land that he grew up in and has forgotten. One audience member talked about a definition of kingdom being a place of love and that Atang was leaving this harsh and closed off urban environment of Johannesburg and returning to this place of love, which makes the definition very apt for the film, which Mudge agreed with. “You should come with me and do these Q&A’s” he replied.

Atang’s journey to find Dineo has a feeling of being almost mythical and out of fables, which was purposeful. The beauty of the country, the tasks he must complete and the road blocks that he and the unnamed orphan must overcome feel like something out of a storybook. We see this intense transformation of Atang throughout.

As much as I want to talk more about this film and what it means, I feel like the best person to hear it from is the man who made it.

This was the first film shot in the country of Lesotho and Mudge has huge plans for it in that country. He plans to tour it around to all of the villages where he filmed, projecting onto a large, portable screen and creating a documentary around the tour.

Visit the film’s official website at www.forgottenkingdomthemovie.com for more information about the film.

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