Talking Movies: Good Hope, Softie and Mrs F

Spling reviews Good Hope, Softie and Mrs F as broadcast on Talking Movies, Fine Music Radio. Listen to podcast.


Good morning – welcome to Talking Movies, I’m Spling…

This week, we’re talking about three documentaries now showing as part of the virtual Encounters documentary festival.

Starting off with…


An exploration of the crisis of confidence in South Africa, and what the next generation and civil society are doing to create a brighter future.

Director: Anthony Fabian

– Beautiful yet broken, our democratic society is on a journey of healing… struggling to overcome deep-seated economic inequalities 25 years after the first free and fair elections.
– A first and third world hybrid, South Africa is rated as one of the most unequal and pessimistic societies in the world, it’s no wonder nefarious PR campaigns and extreme political parties have been able to stoke racial tensions in this climate of frustration and hardship.
– This is what makes the ‘state of the nation’ documentary Good Hope so refreshing, exploring the possibilities for our country’s next generation through achievable solutions, restoration of confidence in humanity and the power of one.
– The constant barrage of bad news about crime, our inept government and structural inefficiencies has a debilitating effect on our collective psyche.
– Good Hope isn’t glossing over the struggles of the past but rather promoting an infectious can-do attitude for the future.
– Celebrating South Africa’s remarkable achievements, our constitution and the potential to become a global powerhouse, Good Hope carries forth Mandela’s positive vision for our country.
– Madiba’s brilliant insights about humanity and society intersperse Good Hope, illuminating the great man’s vision and guiding Good Hope‘s narrative.
– Good Hope has an optimistic intensity, reminding us of the euphoria we experienced in 1994, rekindling Mandela’s dream and pointing us in the right direction.
– The ‘state of the nation’ documentary showcases the current efforts around rehabilitating our education system, bolstering entrepreneurship programmes and adopting a go-getting approach.
– Fabian gathers interviews from inspirational business leaders and commentary from respected public figures such as Thuli Madonsela, Khadija Patel, Justice Malala and Siya Kolisi.
– Speaking openly about South Africa’s potential and solutions for a brighter future, Good Hope is just the tonic our country needs right now.

An excellent 8 on the splingometer!

Moving on to…


Political activist Boniface “Softie” Mwangi runs for office in a regional Kenyan election, which puts pressure on his young family and convictions.

Director: Sam Soko

– Kenya is one of the most corrupt nations in the world, a country where election campaigns are won on hard cash and t-shirts instead of issues.
– Still largely divided along tribal lines, the country’s unofficial pecking order has created a volatile environment of inequality, prejudice and violence.
– Softie is a character portrait of a CNN photographer, who was confronted with the brutality of post-election violence and government apathy.
– Being at the frontlines of rampant injustice, he became an activist to challenge government apathy and corruption and champion the voice of the disenchanted.
– Appealing to the government to stop violence against all Kenyans and reminding voters to elect on principle rather than pay out, Boniface Mwangi takes his dissent to the streets.
– From visceral photographic exhibitions to visually-striking picket protests, the documentary unpacks Kenya’s state of the nation, entrenched corruption, popularity contest elections and selective apathy.
– Taken from the perspective of a patriotic man wanting a better future for his three children, Softie analyses the political situation on a macro level and drills down to the intimacy of its direct impact on an activist’s family on a micro scale.
– A charming and fearless man trying to balance work and family life, he’s guided by moral conviction, a campaign committee and his wife’s fortitude.
– Softie is an unpredictable on-the-ground documentary capturing magical moments and brutal protest action, presenting a brave, earnest, eye-opening and inspiring story of altruistic endeavour against all odds.

An excellent 8 on the splingometer!

And finally…


Ifeoma Fafunwa, better known as Mrs. F., stages her play about abuse in a slum with houses on stilts in the lagoon of Lagos.

Director: Chris van der Vorm

– Nigeria is a patriarchal male-dominated society where women have very little power and influence, living at the mercy of the men around them.
– A nation where polygamy and extra-marital affairs enshrine gender-based hypocrisies, women are objectified and taught to be subservient.
– Mrs F tells the story of a fierce feminist, who is trying to win hearts and minds through her powerful street productions.
– Gathering local women from the male-dominated community of Makoko, she educates them about their human rights and teaches them to speak out, stay strong and support one another.
– Serving as a spectacle for the impoverished community with a powerful message against the abuse of women and children, it’s edutainment with purpose.
– Mrs F delves into her critical mission, relentless bravery and dedication to campaigning for a renewal in Nigeria’s longstanding prejudices.
– A fly-on-the-wall approach takes us on a journey from the canals of a Nigerian slum to the rehearsal room of an eye-opening stage play.
– It’s a beautiful and emotive story of one woman’s efforts to break through to a community, liberate her actors from their toxic mindset and stage a progressive production in a dangerous stronghold.
– While a provocative documentary for Nigeria, Mrs F has far-reaching themes that make it important to all societies with pre-existing hypocrisies.

An excellent 8 on the splingometer!

So just to wrap up…

GOOD HOPE… this optimistic, empowering and refreshing ‘state of the nation’ documentary grapples with challenges and solutions… An excellent 8!

SOFTIE… a compelling, informative, inspiring, unpredictable and visceral David vs. Goliath character portrait… An excellent 8!

MRS F… an emotive, powerful and beautifully shot depiction of one woman’s campaign to win hearts and free minds… An excellent 8!

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And remember, Don’t WING it, SPL!NG it!