Life Above All is an intimate drama which still manages great scope in its subject matter. Filled with brave performances and confident direction, this is a film worthy of being sought out. Based on the award-winning novel “Chandra’s Secrets” by Allan Stratton and directed by Oliver Schmitz (Paris, Je T’Aime), Life Above All is a powerful little film which is unlike any other coming-of-age tale I have ever seen.
After the death of her newborn sister, twelve-year-old Chanda witnesses a radical change in her family. Her philandering father breaks down and her mother also becomes ill, which causes scandalous gossip to spread around their small village near
. Chanda senses that her mother may have AIDS, but superstition leads all that are infected to deny this to be true. As a result, Chanda’s mother pretends to be cursed rather than ill and leaves her family. Chanda is left to care for her step-siblings until she refuses to hide from the truth any longer, seeking her dying mother out. Johannesburg
Chanda’s bravery surpasses all the rest of the characters in the film, which is difficult concept considering her age. All of the villagers and even her mother’s own family and best friend are determined to lie about her illness. They are more concerned with reputation than with the woman dying, but Chanda is different. The Blu-ray disc includes a great making-of featurette, for a look at how this film was created.