Sometimes films just need to breathe. In a world where modern cinema is cluttered with special effects and cynicism, Andrew Mudge’s The Forgotten Kingdom is a breath of fresh air. On a personal level, I’ve always been fascinated by the country of Lesotho; a little island in the sea of South Africa. I’ve never seen it portrayed on film before, and whilst it’s a beautiful country which in many ways seems idyllic, there are deep socio-economic problems blighting the small Monarchy.
Alang (Zenzo Ngqobe) left Lesotho as a child and was taken to South Africa by his father. He lives in Johannesburg, coasting through his early 20s with no real purpose or career. Alang returns to his tribe to find his estranged father dead, which leads him to connect to his country of birth through meeting an old school friend Dineo (Nozipho Nkelemba) and a mysterious young orphan boy (Lebohang Ntsane).
The Forgotten Kingdom is a beautifully shot film which mixes road movie, coming-of-age themes, mysticism, social commentary and friendship drama. Mudge uses a range of shooting techniques to bring Lesotho to life and there are great lead performances from Zenzo Ngqobe and Nozipho Nkelemba. Whilst much of the film is sweet, the huge social problem of superstition and AIDS is brilliantly handled through the relationship between Dineo’s father (Jerry Mofokeng) and sister (Reitumetse Qobo).
The Forgotten Kingdom is in cinemas on Friday.