Docpoint – Helsinki Documentary Film Festival


One Take Grace

“I always joke that my life is like a movie,” says Mothiba Grace Bapela. In this film, the lead role is not played by a man. This film is not about the wealthy and powerful, at least their part is not in the limelight. This is the story of one South African woman who demands to be heard.

58-year-old Bapela has made her living mainly by cleaning other people’s homes. Being a poor, black woman has not been easy, and there have been more than enough hardships to be traumatic. Besides cleaning work, when opportunities have arisen Bapela has also tried to further her career as an actress. Among local filmmakers, she is known as ‘One Take Grace’. 

Nominated for Best First Feature at 2021’s IDFA, One Take Grace approaches its protagonist’s story through experimental filmmaking. The tools range from a fisheye lens peering into South African homes, to animated scenes reconstructing memories in a theatrical setting. Making creative use of the soundscape, Lindiwe Matshikiza‘s direction creates a unique film, the size of one woman and ultimately a whole society. 

Suvi Nousiainen (translated by Lydia Taylerson)

Language: Sepedi, English, Isizulu
Subtitles: English
Length: 91 min
Age Limit: K12
Year: 2021
Production Country: South Africa

Director: Lindiwe Matshikiza
Producer: Lindiwe Matshikiza
Production Company: Motherbox
Screenplay: Mothiba Grace Bapela, Lindiwe Matshikiza, Masello Motana
Editing: Khalid Shamis
Cinematographer: Breeze Yoko, Lindiwe Matshikiza, Sifiso Khanyile, Mothiba Grace Bapela, Zen Marie, Mandlakazi Zilwa, Katlego Bapela, Karabo Sathekge, Nokubonga Mothiba Bapela
Music: João Renato Orecchia Zúñiga
Sound Design: João Renato Orecchia Zúñiga