MASERU — Judged according to international filmmaking standards, the production quality is a joke.
And so is the film itself.
Nyatsi (mistress), is the name of a local comedy made on a shoestring budget by 22-year-old Lerato Mofarasi.
Mofarasi is studying mechanical engineering at Lerotholi Polytechnic and he says he produced the 80 minute-film to raise money.
Production on the M7 000 film finished in March but Mofarasi says the DVD is only hitting the streets now.
So far Mofarasi’s film has sold only 80 copies of the 120 produced.
So how does a comedy directed by a novice, acted by amateurs, shot with a home camera and produced on a tiny budget, taste?
That’s the fair answer.
To say it’s a fantastic production will be a gross injustice even to the young director himself.
The film centres on two main characters, a wife who is living and studying in Lesotho and her husband who is toiling in the mines in South Africa.
Apart from taking care of the couple’s only child the wife is also studying.
But in between classes and making meals for the kid, the young wife also entertains boyfriends.
Not one, not two, not three but five.
The comedy is about how she juggles them around and always gets away with it.
In one scene she is having a good time with boyfriend one when boyfriend two comes home unannounced.
She tells boyfriend one that boyfriend two, who is knocking on the door, is her husband and tells him to hide on top of the wardrobe.
So up the wardrobe he climbs, in a flash.
She then opens the door for boyfriend two but before they could chat for long boyfriend three knocks on the door.
She sells that same “husband story” to boyfriend two and tells him to hide in the wardrobe.
Later when boyfriend four comes boyfriend three is shoved under the bed.
And when the man of the house comes boyfriend four hides under the bed as well. You will certainly laugh at all that but when almost the same action with a few minor variations is repeated in the next scene the humour subsides to give way to yawning.
Yet there are still other scenes that will tickle.
For instance the scene in which the husband starts having an affair with the wife of one of his wife’s boyfriends is hilarious.
The husband is having a good time with his new girlfriend when the wife knocks on the door, sending the pair into panic mode.
He tells his girlfriend to hide under the bed.
He leaves his wife to go and buy some food but the girlfriend remains holed under the bed.
Feeling naughty again because the coast seems cleared, the wife calls up her boyfriend but she doesn’t know that her boyfriend’s wife is under the bed. When the husband comes back from the shops sooner than expected the wife tells her boyfriend to hide under the bed where he meets his wife.
It’s a funny little story that is badly told though.
The scenes don’t flow and the dialogue is a bit below standard.
Perhaps what the script lacks is a professional touch.
Yet that doesn’t mean Mofarasi didn’t try.
The directing is awful.
The actors are clearly still wet behind the ears.
But to be fair, Mofarasi must be commended for his guts to venture into such a technical field with no basic filmmaking skills and on such a miserly budget.
And if you consider that this is the work of a young aspiring filmmaker then you realise why there is no need to be too critical about Nyatsi.
Mofarasi is not beating his chest about the product either.
“It was a very tough journey as all the 11 cast were first timers in the acting industry with me included as a lead actor and director,” he says.
“It is a low quality production but the feedback from the public is very positive. I get people telling me to incorporate more qualified people to produce a more up to standard film on my next project because I am on the right track.
“It seems to be attracting a large crowd when played on the street DVD displays,” he adds.
Mofarasi told the Weekender he couldn’t pay his cast so he gave them four copies of the film each to sell and “create their own income”.
It will be unfair and mean to compare Mofarasi’s film to the Hollywood blockbusters or even Nollywood productions (those films in which people scream more than talk).
But it will be naive to discard Nyatsi as total trash. It’s certainly no material for the dustbin.
It’s a commendable effort and a good start.
To lynch the young man for trying what others haven’t will be sabotaging what might otherwise be a blooming talent.
Lesotho needs more daring youngsters like Mofarasi. A DVD costs M100.