South African Gaia is a breath of fresh air in the even fresher genre of ecological horror. It’s beautiful, dystopian and disturbing – and it includes some scenes that are guaranteed to haunt your thoughts on any future hikes through the woods.
We meet forest rangers Gabi and Winston while they are on a routine mission in the deep primeval forest in South Africa. Things quickly take a dark turn for the forest rangers, and Gabi winds up with doomsday prepper Barend and his son Stefan. The two of them live in a post-apocalyptic reality in the forest, in a somewhat strange interaction with nature. However, Gabi soon realizes that there are greater dangers in the area than two defectors from the community.
Gaia centres around a few people in a very limited geographical area, which gives it an occasional claustrophobic feeling. The film is as beautiful as it is unpleasant and serves a very clear commentary on the greatest global crisis of our time.
Jaco Bouwer (b. 1973) is a South African director and producer, with a long and critically acclaimed career in theatre behind him. Bouwer recently made the leap from stage to screen, and Gaia is his first feature film as a director. He is known for his aesthetic sense and the ability to combine major political themes with personal stories. His projects often focus on today's biggest crises, as exemplified by Gaia.
This film is part of
Country South Africa
Director Jaco Bouwer
Screenplay Tertius Kapp
Cinematography Jorrie van der Walt
Producer Jaco Bouwer, Tertius Kapp, Jorrie van der Walt m.fl.
Cast Monique Rockman, Carel Nel, Alex van Dyk, Anthony Oseyemi
Production Company Film Initiative Africa
Distribution Another World Entertainment
Runtime 1h 36m
Language Afrikaans, English
Genre Drama, Suspense, Adventure
Age limit 12
This film is in competition for the Audience Award.