Shoot Begins on Modern la Boheme

By Rosser, Michael | Screen International, August 20, 2014 | Go to article overview

Shoot Begins on Modern la Boheme


Rosser, Michael, Screen International


EXCLUSIVE: South African adaptation of La Boheme to be directed by Berlinale Golden Bear winner Mark Dornford May and supported by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Shooting has begun this week in Stellenbosch, South Africa on a contemporary adaptation of Puccini's La Boheme.

Breathe - Umphefumlo is directed by Mark Dornford May and moves the story from its usual Parisian setting to modern South Africa. It centres on star crossed lovers Mimi (Busisiwe Ngejane) and Lungelo (Mhlekazi Mosiea).

Dornford May won the Berlinale Golden Bear in 2005 with U-Carmen eKhayelitsha, a modern take on Bizet's Carmen also set in South Africa.

The director said: "La Boheme is a glittering piece of musical history but it also contains a searing emotional cry for understanding and action about the brutal realities of the everyday life of the poor and their struggle for shelter, food and medicine. This is what we want to bring to the screen in Breathe - Umphefumlo."

Dornford May has adapted this new approach to La Boheme with Pauline Malefane, who will also handle the musical direction with Mandisi Dyantis. The score will be played by an orchestra of marimbas and steel pans.

The film is a partnership between South Africa's Isango Advantage, the UK's Film and Music Entertainment (F&ME) and Germany's Propeller Film.

Producers are Dornford May for Isango and Vlokkie Gordon of Advantage Entertainment.

Tutu support

The production is a partnership with the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, supported by the University of Stellenbosch, which fights the spread of Aids, tuberculosis and malaria. …

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