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Peter Feldman

Teeming Hillbrow forms the backdrop for this intriguing little slice of life from Greek director Konstandino Kalarytis who also co-wrote the story.

He manages to capture the grimy atmosphere of this dilapidated, overrun suburb while focusing on a story that could be played out in any part of the world. It has a universality to it; good people and bad people trying to find their little piece of heaven through whatever means possible.

The key character is the proverbial prostitute with the heart of gold. She is Dora (Khabonina Qubeka) who falls foul of a violent gang who are involved in organised crime.

Her "crime" is that she is forced to shield Peace (Pabello Koza), a gifted 12-year-old boy who does remarkable drawings. He had witnessed the murder of his druggie mother. It seems his mother had been harbouring the gang's drug money in her flat. She wouldn't give it back and the two thugs sent to find it kill her in the process. The men are played by Hlubi Mboya and Ronnie Nyakale.

As Dora takes it upon herself to protect the boy, she discovers her own humanity - something that was missing in her life since migrating to the big city.

She is smart, sassy and tough as nails. Now in her forties, she has seen it all. She’s sold her body on the streets, been locked-up and used by the cops, abused and beaten by customers (and in the opening scenes we see her stumbling ...

Teeming Hillbrow forms the backdrop for this intriguing little slice of life from Greek director Konstandino Kalarytis who also co-wrote the story.

He manages to capture the grimy atmosphere of this dilapidated, overrun suburb while focusing on a story that could be played out in any part of the world. It has a universality to it; good people and bad people trying to find their little piece of heaven through whatever means possible.

The key character is the proverbial prostitute with the heart of gold. She is Dora (Khabonina Qubeka) who falls foul of a violent gang who are involved in organised crime.

Her “crime” is that she is forced to shield Peace (Pabello Koza), a gifted 12-year-old boy who does remarkable drawings. He had witnessed the murder of his druggie mother. It seems his mother had been harbouring the gang’s drug money in her flat. She wouldn’t give it back and the two thugs sent to find it kill her in the process. The men are played by Hlubi Mboya and Ronnie Nyakale.

As Dora takes it upon herself to protect the boy, she discovers her own humanity – something that was missing in her life since migrating to the big city.

She is smart, sassy and tough as nails. Now in her forties, she has seen it all. She’s sold her body on the streets, been locked-up and used by the cops, abused and beaten by customers (and in the opening scenes we see her stumbling home with blood on her face).

The plot also concerns one of Dora’s regular customers, a Greek bookie and gangster named Stavros (Danny Keogh), who also happens to be the leader of the organised crime syndicate. He is a ruthless individual who will stop at nothing to get his money back including the murder of the 12-year-old boy.

The story may not be original, but performances from its key players, including the astonishing young Pabello Koza, help lift it above the norm.

Meren Reddy plays Dora’s only friend, a Rasta-loving taxi driver with a bizarre sense of humour.

The crux of the production revolves around the relationship between Dora and Peace, and how they get to know each other under trying circumstances.

It is certainly one of the better South African films to come our way.

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