It was announced this week that the film adaptation of Dalene Matthee’s novel Toorbos is South Africa’s official selection for the prestigious Best International Feature Film Award at the Academy Awards.
Toorbos explores the uprooting of a young woman and her community during the time of the last forest inhabitants of South Africa’s Knysna forest of the 1930s.
The celebrated filmmaker René van Rooyen served as both writer and director on the film, which sees Elani Dekker and Stiaan Smith in the lead roles.
This momentous announcement, hailed as an honour for the entire team, is not the first accolade that the film has garnered. It has also been selected for the Torino Film Festival in Italy, November 2020, and it won the ‘Works in Progress’ Award at the 2018 Cape Town International Market and Film Festival, an early indication of the world-class status of the film.
The novel, originally published in Afrikaans in 2003, has been translated into English and Dutch, and is regarded as proof, once more, of Dalene Matthee’s unique ability to capture hearts and minds with her so-called ‘forest novels’.
This novel takes you back to a primordial world of timelessness where trees, elephants, woodcutters, spirited forest manifestations and blue duikers conjure up a magic world right in front of your eyes – hence the title Dreamforest. Here, the old Matthee magic is at work again. She is a purebred storyteller.”
– Louise Viljoen
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