Please note – this article contains spoilers for Flatland
Jenna Bass’s Flatland (2019) premiered exclusively on Bohemia Euphoria on the 17th of August and will be screened every night from 7-9pm BST until Saturday, the 22nd of August. A feminist and intersectional drama set in South Africa, the 117-minute long feature is filled with pastel naturalistic cinematography. The film follows the stories of three dynamic female characters, protagonist Natalie, her overly dramatic adopted sister Poppie and Beauty Cuba, a skilled police captain. When the two girls go on the run after committing a series of crimes, it’s up to Beauty to track them down in order to unravel the mystery of a murder.
Content warnings : mentions of rape and sexual assault
Natalie (played by Nicole Fortuin)
The film begins on her wedding day. Although set over two decades after the end of the apartheid, the audience need not be informed about the complications of her situation, her being a black woman in South Africa getting married to a Caucasian man. But when her domestic issues escalate to marital rape only a few hours later, the seemingly timid protagonist grabs her husband’s gun and makes a run for it towards freedom and self-discovery.
To redeem her situation, Natalie’s plan of action needed to involve:
• Finding her way out of her loveless, abusive marriage ✓
• Distancing herself from Poppie’s bad influence (although they did make an iconic dancing duo) ✓
• Taking her life into her own hands and running away from Beaufort West, where she is wanted for the manslaughter ✓
Poppie (played by Izel Bezuidenhout)
Pregnant at the age of 15, the short-tempered Caucasian girl is shown to benefit from the colour of her skin with white South Africans and refers to her sister Natalie using an offensive slur (the Afrikaans equivalent of the “N” word, often referred to as the “K” word). In addition to being precocious, Poppie is shown to be naive in her views on life, which she expresses often. She runs away with Natalie, with the aim of finding the prospective father of her unborn child and making it to Johannesburg.
To redeem her situation, Poppie needed to:
• Open her eyes to the truth about her baby’s father Branko, a notorious womanizer, and kick him to the curb ✓
• Make plans for the future that involve her either returning to school or pursuing a career ✓
• Part ways with Natalie, whom she loves deeply but is envious and perhaps jealous of ✓
Beauty (played by Faith Baloyi)
Respected by the entire police force, the captain proves to have impressive investigation skills. It is abundantly clear from the moment she is introduced on screen that she is as an enforcer of the law. However, we see the lines blur when we discover that she was engaged to be married to Billy, who is now a convict. And though we also discover that she turned him in for the manslaughter he committed, they rekindle their relationship even in the face of Billy being framed for the pastor’s killing.
To move forward from the liminal state she’s been stuck in for 15 years (the length of Billy’s sentence), Beauty must:
• Let Billy go ✓
• See above! That’s literally all she needs to do, and we think she does ✓
Get interactive on our community channel and let us know what you think. Do you agree with our final verdicts? Who’s your favourite female character of the trio?
The film is definitely a must-watch but don’t forget that it’s only for a few days, so catch it while it’s screening on our platform. You can also stream our other indie titles online and buy tickets to the virtual premieres of more Euphoria films like Segilola Ogidan’s directorial debut Tainted Canvas, which goes live on the 31st of August!