DANCES WITH FILMS 2022 REVIEW! Few life events impact the human soul more than the death of a loved one. From South Africa, Jordy Sank and Terence Makapan’s short film, Leemtes En Leegheid (A Void), tells the somber story of an elder woman struggling to cope with loss.
Magdaleen (Lida Botha) is in her 80s, and on this day, she is content spending time at home with her husband, Hendrik (Johan Botha). Soon Magdaleen puts a record on the turntable and asks Hendrik for a dance. As she falls to the floor, we realize that this vivid memory of Hendrik still remains in Magdaleen’s mind.
“As Magdaleen falls to the floor, we realize that this vivid memory of Hendrik still remains in her mind.”
Later, a phone call comes in from Magdaleen’s concerned daughter, hoping she will leave her flat and visit her grandkids. As the determined Magdaleen prepares to go, “Hendrik” insists she stays home, and her resolve wavers. Though she is able to walk out the front door, the world around her starts to collapse, and she can only make it to the city bench in front of her apartment building. Our defeated heroine is joined on the bench by her new neighbor, Lionel (Ivan Abrahams). After a tense and awkward moment, Magdaleen accepts Lionel’s invitation for tea.
Sank and Makapan’s story is a beautiful and haunting tale of overcoming grief. The filmmakers masterfully balance sweetness and darkness. Leemtes En Leegheid is also an example of how to say a lot without saying anything. We understand Magdaleen’s sadness and loss of her husband. We feel her every emotion and along with the apparent betrayal of her love, over a simple cup of tea. It shows how film can talk about the universal themes of life without ever talking about it. As Magdaleen, Lida Botha absolutely nails her character, leaving us with a brilliant performance in the end.
Leemtes En Leegheid screens at the 2022 Dance With Films.
"…a beautiful and haunting tale of overcoming grief."