Kapana (2020)

Kapana
Director: Philippe Talavera
Writer: Senga Brockerhoff, Mikiros Garoes
Cast: Adriano Visagie, Simon Hanga, Mikiros Garoes, Dawie Engelbrecht, Foreversun Haiduwah, Albertina Hainane, Felicity Celento, Elize de Wee, Jeremiah Jeremiah, Lukas Paulus
Part of: Transition Queer Film Festival
Seen on: 11.7.2021

Content Note: (critical treatment of) homomisia

Plot:
George (Adriano Visagie) and Simeon (Simon Hanga) meet in a bar. They flirt, they have sex. They don’t really expect more, especially not in Namibia where homosexuality is criminalized. But then they run into each other again when George comes to buy Kapana for his lunch break, and finds that Simeon is the one who is selling it. Simeon panics, he isn’t out to anyone in his life, but George finds a way and they start dating. Only, George has a secret, and this could threaten to end things between them before they ever really started.

Kapana is a very sweet film that tries to deal with a lot of stuff in its short runtime, but also keeps its emotional side in sight. I really liked it.

The film poster showing Simeon (Simon Hanga) selling Kapana, grilled meat.

Making a film about two men falling in love in Namibia is per se a very political act (not that it is much different in Europe), and Kapana is very aware of that. So, there is a certain amount of educating and explaining going on in the film that seems aimed at people who might have a problem with homosexuality, or may not be aware of the current state of things.

But fortunately, the film never goes overboard with that part, so those moments can be easily taken in stride. Becasue the other part of the film, the romantic part, is as strong as it should be, giving you the emotional connection with the characters and the general romantic vibes you’d hope for in the film.

George (Adriano Visagie) and Simeon (Simon Hanga) looking over the city at night.

Visagie and Hanga are great together. Their dialogues may not always be perfectly delivered – at times it’s a little obvious that they are speaking lines – but the sentiment, the emotion is always there. The chemistry between the two of them works and it was easy to root for them as a couple against all odds.

The film doesn’t have a big budget, and sometimes that is just as clear as the not-so-perfect line delivery, giving the film a rough feel. But it’s a roughness that comes with a lot of heart, and the latter is so much more important than the former that I didn’t mind it in the slightest. In fact, I really enjoyed the grassroots energy it gave the film. As I enjoyed the film as a whole.

George (Adriano Visagie) cuddled up to Simeon (Simon Hanga).

Summarizing: really good.

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