South African tale channels Pygmalion

South African tale channels Pygmalion


RCB Film Club is screening Toorbos (Dream Forest), a South African drama that created waves at various festivals, at the RCB Forum, 2nd floor of River City Bangkok, Charoen Krung 24, on Saturday at 4pm.

A scene from Toorbos. (Photo courtesy of RCB Film Club)

Directed by Rene von Rooyen, the two-hour movie is set in the 1930s in the time of the final forest dwellers of the incredible Knysna forest. It tells the story of Karoliena, a young forest child who is born into poverty and raised in similar circumstances.

She's the only daughter of an unsympathetic and hateful mother. Her loving father dies when Karoliena is seven years old, after which she "adopts" the forest as her only guardian.

She becomes a smart and beautiful young woman who quickly attracts the attention of Johannes, a successful businessman from town, who once belonged to the forest tribes. He marries her and takes her away to the city where she is trained to become a respected lady.

But the town and forest are in stark contrast with each other. The forest is magical, mythical and spiritual. The town is centred around a selfish desire for money. When Karoliena realises that she has exchanged her precious freedom for a cage, it's too late, and she's petrified.

The story follows Karoliena while she's trapped between her love for the forest and the man she's married to, while she tries to overcome the obstacles on her journey to decide where her place in the world really is.

The film was selected as the country's official entry for the Best International Feature Film Award at the Oscars in 2021. It comes with English subtitles.

Thobeka Dlamini, charge d'affaires of the South African embassy, will introduce the film and host a reception of South African wines and food after the screening.

Tickets cost 100 baht. Visit

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