African Feature

Screens with

Barber Shop
Small wooden cabins arranged in neat rows are home to destitute Afrikaners and an insulated community run with military-like precision and an entrenched bigotry and nostalgia for the old political regime.

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This strange and remarkable film is both a portrait of a community and a psychological treatise of sorts. Based on the book Beneath – Exploring the Unconscious in Individuals, the film intersperses narrated passages from the book with intimately filmed interviews with a small group of residents of Prince Albert, in the Western Cape. Framed by the austere beauty of the Karoo and its vast, unyielding sky, the film’s conversations explore notions of love, philosophy, belief systems and family, as well as our relationship to the land, animals and each other. With a soundtrack performed live by its subjects, this is a profoundly spiritual work of art. Eerstewater expands the margins of South African life and gives agency to voices that are seldom heard in local cinema.

Cape Town
Labia 1
Fri 1 June / 8.15pm + Q&A
V&A 4
Tue 5 June / 6pm + Q&A
Sun 10 June / 5.15pm + Q&A TBC
Hélène Smit, Adriaan de la Ray, Lodewyk Barkhuizen
South Africa
82 minutes


Adriaan de la Ray Director
Lodewyk Barkhuizen Director

Lodewyk Barkhuizen is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Pretoria, South Africa. He teaches film and animation at The Open Window Institute for Arts and Digital Sciences and favours short-form experimental projects. Eerstewater is his first feature-length documentary production.

Hélène Smit Director

Hélène Smit specialises in teaching and facilitating human psychological development, including symbolism to help people build relationships with the unconscious systems inside them. Eerstewater is her first film project and is based on her book called Beneath – Exploring the Unconscious in Individuals. She lives in Prince Albert in the Karoo.