DVD Review: Pad Na Jou Hart

Running time: 111 minutes
Starring: Ivan Botha, Donnalee Roberts, Marius Weyers
Director: Jaco Smit

The variety and standard of films produced locally over the past four years or so has been quite impressive. Examples such as Jozi, Bakgat, Otelo Burning, Material, Hoofmeisie, Fanie Fourie’s Lobola, Copposites and many others are a testament to the fact that our film industry is more than capable of competing on the international stage.

Ivan Botha (from 7de Laan and the Bakgat series/franchise), Donnalee Roberts (7de Laan) and director Jaco Bester worked together to bring Pad Na Jou Hart, a “romantiese avontuur film” to the big screen. It is an epic life and love story that spans locations across South Africa, from Johannesburg to Clarens, to Graaf-Reinet and Cape Town.

Basson van Rensburg Jr (Botha) is heir to the Vecto Petroleum fortune, and at the outset it is clear that he is trying to do whatever he can to freeze out his father, Basson Sr, whom he still resents for a lost childhood. Basson Jr receives instructions that he will first have to complete a number of tasks set out by his father before he can become CEO. Once he trades his Aston Martin for a pair of vellies* and a ride to Cape Town with Amory (Roberts), the mysterious bohemian girl he found on the side of the road, the real adventure begins.

Amory and Basson Jr are completely different people who both have their own reasons for wanting to get to Cape Town, and of course there is friction between them at first. But there is also a definite chemistry between the two actors that is great to watch, and it is this chemistry that carries their characters through the story so well.

Amory has a bucket list, and Basson Jr has letters from his father with instructions of where to go next. The two agendas collide, and after a revelation that could disturb all the progress that Amory and Basson Jr have made in their relationship, the film takes a turn that is both surprising and heartbreaking. At the end of their journey, Basson Jr has thoroughly re-evaluated his priorities, and Amory has more than she could have hoped for when she first wrote that bucket list.

The excellent cinematography (by Jacques Koudstaal) is matched by the outstanding completely local soundtrack which includes songs by Karen Zoid (As Musiek Begin Speel), Foto Na Dans (Konings), Die Heuwels Fantasties (Sonrotse), ADAM (Sal Oorlog vir Jou Maak) and Joe Foster (Pad Na Jou Hart).

Pad Na Jou Hart is a life story, before it is a tale of romance. It will have you experiencing the full spectrum of human emotions, but mostly intense sadness and eternal optimism. I was bawling at the end of it, I’ll be honest. This movie is almost two hours of captivating escapism that will either have you running to tell someone you love them, or jumping into your car for a cross-country adventure of your own.