The film Żniwa (Die Stropers), a French-Polish-Greek-South African co-production, will have its world premiere at the International Film Festival in Cannes. Żniwa (Die Stropers) marks the debut of the Greek-South African director Etienne Kallos and it will be shown in the Un Certain Regard section. The Polish producer of the film is Mariusz Włodarski – Lava Films, and the director of photography was Michał Englert. The film was co-financed by the Polish Film Institute. The festival will take place from 8-19 May.
The Un Certain Regard section [literally 'a certain glance'] of the festival presents a "different look" at contemporary cinema, placing an emphasis in its selection on the originality and freshness of the presented works. Previous winners of this section include such directors as Kornél Mundruczó, Yorgos Lanthimos and Cristian Nemescu. The film touches on issues of identity in contemporary Afrikaans culture. It is set in Free State, a remote region of South Africa, and explores the rites of passage into adulthood of a lost generation of Afrikaans youth – the first generation born after the fall of apartheid – which is struggling to grow up in the chaos of post-colonial Africa.
Photo from the producer's press materials
Free State in South Africa, a place cut-off from the rest of the country and a bastion of the ethnic minority of white Afrikaans. Living in this conservative community, which is obsessively attached to strength and masculinity, is the secretive and sensitive Janno. One day, his devout mother comes home with Pieter, an orphan from the street whom she wants to save. His mother asks Janno to become a brother to this unknown, streetwise boy. A battle for power, heritage and parental love begins.
Etienne Kallos is an award-winning scriptwriter and director of Greek-South African descent. In 2009, his diploma film Eersgeborene (Firstborn) won the Corto Cortissimo 'Lion' for best short film at the International Film Festival in Venice – the first film in the Afrikaans language to ever be awarded in this category. In turn, his etude Doorman had its European premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006.
The film is a co-production between four countries: France (Cinema Defacto), Poland (Lava Films), Greece (Heretic) and South Africa (Spier Films). The film was shot on location in Free State (South Africa). Post-production was carried out in the three European co-producer countries – France, Poland and Greece – and the film was made with the support of the Eurimages fund.
Translated by Paweł Włochacz