Isango’s/F&ME’s adaptation of La Boheme - Breathe - Umphefumlo Selected for the main programme of the Berlin International Film Festival 2015

// 19th of January, 2015

Mark Dornford May’s latest film to screen in Official Selection – Berlinale Special

Scene from Breathe  - Umphefumlo

Scene from Breathe - Umphefumlo

We’re very please to announce that our partnership with the Isango in Cape Town on LA BOHEME - UMPHEFUMLO has been selected in Official Selection - BERLINALE SPECIAL - the main programme for "extraordinary productions...honouring great cinema personalities..films by or about outstanding persons of film whom the festival feels especially attached to".
The first performance of Giacomo Puccini’s opera La Boheme was in Turin on 01 February 1896 at the Teatro Regio. Since then it has become one of the most popular and frequently performed operas in the world. This is not just because of the sublime music; the opera’s story of rebellious youth and doomed love resonates for different generations and across cultures.
Mimi’s death from TB - and her illness unnoticed at first even by her closest friends - cannot but sound a chilling chord in our modern world.
Puccini’s message is clear and unambiguous: her death is a crime, a crime committed because of our lack of a collective humanity.
The striking and brutal realities of the everyday life of the poor - their struggle for food, shelter and of course medicine is contained within some of the most glorious music ever composed.
A shadow creeps over the opera: tuberculosis. It is this that gives La Boheme its tragic dimension and its particular resonance in contemporary South Africa. The townships where the performers are drawn from are amongst some of the world’s highest infection areas for TB and indeed, in the company’s extended families and friends many are living with the realities of this disease on a daily basis. For Isango, La Boheme is not a glittering piece of musical history but a searing emotional cry for understanding and action.
Breathe - Umphefumlo moves the action from 19th century Paris to 21st century Khayelitsha where the struggling artists, writers and actors are scratching a living through wits on the margin of society. With the naïve arrogance of youth they think they will live forever. But one of them will not.
Lungelo a struggling student meets up and falls in love with Mimi, a young botanist living with TB
Lungelo has to watch as through lack of access to medicine at the time she needs it, she dies.
Breathe - Umphefumlo is a partnership between Isango, Advantage, Propeller and Film and Music Entertainment.

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