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Paradise Stop

Paradise Stop

by Sihle Mthembu / 17.03.2011

Following the success of White Wedding comes another tale of two friends living in very different realities – this time in Limpopo. Paradise Stop confirms that Jann Turner is one of the most “out of the box” filmmakers we have.

We originally reviewed it here when it showed at the Durban International Film Festival.

Like Turner’s critically acclaimed White Wedding, Paradise Stop is an almost brutal satire on the contemporary South African layman. Set in a small town in Limpopo the film tells the story of two friends on opposite sides of the law and how they fight to keep their sanity and values intact. It might not sound like a new plot but all things considered, in the barren wasteland of South African comedy its an epic shift towards the left.

Paradise Stop

Starring the two godfathers of Sollywood Rapulana Seiphemo as a cop trying to do the right thing in a bad system, and Kenneth Nkosi is his friend who has to pull off one last job before he can stop being a criminal. Paradise Stop does not boast heavy action sequences and sure-fire gunplay as you would expect of a heist film, but it has subdued moments of intense one on one drama and drizzles of unexpected light humor that are almost reminiscent of the Woody Allen classic Small Time Crooks.

Well-constructed by both Turner’s artistry as well as the immense talent of her cast to carry through the dialogue without sounding pretentious, Paradise Stop is an ambitious film not only as a personal project for Turner, but also for a local film industry which has had to be sensitive about the portrayal of crime and its implications.

Paradise Stop

The film recycles many familiar faces from White Wedding, but that can be excused in a small industry like ours, where you need the star power of Rapulana and Nkosi to get the mileage required for distribution. But the film also employs a string of local soapie stars like Sonia Sedibe (Generations), Madhuvha Madima (Muvhango) and Keketso Semoko (Isidingo) who drag it down somewhat. Occasionally you find yourself thinking that the characters you are watching are slightly altered versions of their small screen alter egos.

These moments however are few and far between and are often outdone by one liners in the tradition of Red Foxx that will leave you snorting with laughter. One stand out scene is where Detective Potso Mogopudi (Rapulana) is being scolded by his boss for over exerting his powers. Commander Matlaku makes it clear that “you cannot go around town with sirens blazing like the president of the youth league.”

Paradise Stop

Its moments like these that make Paradise Stop a refreshing breakaway from the somewhat overdone slapstick to which South African audiences have become accustomed. Many critics however have stated that Turner’s style is somewhat informed by the films of grandpa Leon, slating White Wedding as just another buddy movie in the tradition of Zulu on my Stoep. If Schuster does have an influence on Turner it is perhaps more a case of respect than style. Any local filmmaker who can gross millions in South Africa is well worth respecting.

In fact Turner seems to have gone on a tangent with this film, deliberately avoiding too many close ups and musically driven montage sequences. In so doing she forges an intricate mixture of drama and comedy, with a distinctively original signature. Overall Paradise Stop is a film worth watching. Not a Hollywood remake nor a Sollywood half-bake.

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RESPONSES (46)
  1. Anonymous says:

    when is caming to jhb?

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  2. Sally says:

    I also caught a pre-release screening of Paradise Stop. One of the things I found most off-putting about the film was its portrayal of violence. Like you said, there’s no slapstick in this film, but its slapstick that actually helps audiences find the funny side of violent situations, ie, Leon Schuster’s “Hi Jack” joke. I found little humour in this film’s portrayal of the crime boss, hijackers, truck stop prostitutes and the adulterous wife. Kenneth Nkosi’s character is lovable enough but even that seemed strange, considering he was playing a criminal.
    Maybe I just didn’t get it.

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  3. Sara says:

    White wedding was dull and full of stereotypes

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  4. Sara says:

    So what exactly makes “White Wedding” – “critically acclaimed” – does that mean Barry Ronge gave it a thumbs up because it’s a local production?

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  5. Sihle says:

    well it got good reviews–the critics acclaim it–so it is critically acclaimed—stereotypes are often true lol

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  6. Alex X says:

    @Sihle,

    Listen, son.

    1. White Wedding was a stereotypical load of horseshit.
    2. This film is similarly kak.
    3. “Stereotypes are often true lol” — Jesus, someone put a muzzle on this guy. He isn’t worthy of the name journalist.

    Learn how to be a proper critic, please.

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  7. Dumas says:

    Jann Tuirner is a cornerstone in building an indigenous South African film industryt. She tells stories which are unique to this country, warts and all. Bravo Ms. Turner !

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  8. Roger Young says:

    @Alex X

    Agreed on White Wedding but this film is significantly better. It’s a step forward. It’s not groundbreaking cinema by any description but it is well crafted comedy for the masses with fairly (in comparison) advanced humour and solid performances.

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  9. Sihle says:

    @Alex X
    How old are you to be calling me son, if you are old enough to have me as a son my next question is what are you doing here?

    when you say white wedding is a load of shit do you mean that literally?
    just because you don’t like them does not mean that others mustn’t
    I don’t ever recall calling myself a journalist

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  10. Mrs itallia says:

    Ag! I hate sonia sedibe so i wnt enjoy de movie bcs she’s there bt 4 those i lyk keep it up ur movie is hot

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  11. Alex X says:

    @Sihle

    Fuck, you are witless. Your comprehension skills need a tune-up. ‘ll do ’em in order.

    a) I was calling you ‘son’ in a colloquial sense. I’m actually 22. If I assume you are the same age, then technically I’d need to be roughly about 39 or 40 to be your father (obviously earlier, if I wanted to stretch the example). So, I guess you should ask the same question to Roger Young and Brandon Edmonds, who I hear are cresting 40?

    b) Um, I don’t mean White Wedding is shit literally. I mean it figuratively. Are you joking?

    c) You don’t have to call yourself a journalist to be a journalist.

    Lastly, do yourself a favour and reread the opening sentence of your article. In fact read the opening two sentences. It’s classy stuff.

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  12. Mapetla aka Pedro, PTA EAST says:

    I truly think both white wedding and paradise stop are good films. ppl should stop comparing SA feature films with the Big Budgets american produced. The makers of both these movies are doing their best to bring sumthing fresh for us mzansi ppl. we have been tortured a lot by watching sleeping tablets SA films lyk Menda City and those “PAY ME TO WATCH” apartheid re-makes that fueled racial separation. its encouraging 2 C Raps, Makenzo and Turner tackling real issues like it happens. Big ups to this team for a job well done. Tell me if you didn’t learn a thing or two after watching the films. By the way for the ones who lyk comparing things, wat do you get from watching The Prince of Persia, Matrix, terminator(s), Martin Lawrence’s Big mamma’s

    PARADISE STOP rocks

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  13. Mapetla aka Pedro, PTA EAST says:

    Dear Mrs Itallia

    i understand that you hate Sonia aka Ntombi but do you judge her work based on your personal feeling against her? the lady is good in her work, people hated Pamela Nomvete aka Ntsiki frm Generations bcos she portrait her character very well. is this the case here or this is more personal? please let go of the grudge and support the poor woman’s fine job. i still say Paradise STOP Rocks people. go and watch the movie and pls IF YOU WANT TO BE A PIRATE GO TO THE CARRIBEAN and IF YOU ENJOY FAKE DVDS GO TO CHINA. Support the local work

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  14. Mapetla aka Pedro, PTA EAST says:

    have any of you guys ever noticed the individual brilliance of Vusi Kunene aka Jack Mabaso in any of the roles he does. Damn that guy is seriously Mzansi’s finest. his approach to his different characters is amazing. wish Mfundi can bring him back to Generations, at least to be a pain in Kenneth aka Kenny’s butt. what do you think lovely people?

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  15. ChazD says:

    Keep making South African films, and then African films, that is how you wind up making world films. There are specific stories to be told which can amuse, inspire and even help transform the world. STEPPING STONES is trying what are the rest of us doing ? Complaining, griping and most of all not being very supportive. The first time in my local mall there were two South African films playing out of the total of eight… Bout time

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  16. Mapetla aka Pedro, PTA EAST says:

    i agree with you ChazD. IF you complain and criticize local films then you better start coming with excellent solutions, dats making your so called “blockbusters”. if you wish to see positive change in the world, you have to be the first to change and be the solution/change you wish to see in the world. complaining without action is useless, objection without suggestion is idiotic. local films are a marvel to watch. i support our film makers, they always work with low budget but their products are reach in positive influence and transformation. who didnt enjoy Mr Bones, Tsotsi, Mama Jack, White Wedding …… and now its Paradise Stop. Lets support our local products.

    ppl lets chat,

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  17. Anonymous says:

    Does anybody know what the opening week-end numbers were for PARADISE STOP ?

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  18. Mapetla aka Pedro, PTA EAST says:

    I’ve tried to google the figures, check the papers but there is absolutely nothing, for now. maybe they will release the figures in a week’s time. I sincerely think they did good. i mean Mzansi movie goers really supported this film. i will keep on digging for the figures. i estimate R1m, what do others think?

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  19. Athi says:

    I pray for this movie to be better coz White Wedding was a waste of time to be honet with you guys.

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  20. PSL says:

    I’m a stepping stone full supporter from white wedding to paradise stop, Le ya Rocka! I would like to make a movie with you guys

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  21. Ntoksy says:

    I also enjoyed both White Wedding and Paradise Stop. Keep up the good work Ms Turner

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  22. underwhelmed says:

    Sihle I think its a well written review, well done. Andy X, get over yourself, this is probably the only place where anyone take interest in you or what you have to say. Don’t get it twisted, being a film critic is not the same as being a journo.

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  23. ChazD says:

    Still nobody has posted the numbers for the week ?
    Reviews are okay but what do the people think ? Are they puttinfg the butts in the seats ? if not how do we get them there. It is a small window guys.

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  24. Sfiso ntuli says:

    This is a very nice movie it is more of how truck drivers live on the road

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  25. Jabulile Maluleka says:

    Love both White Wedding and Paradise Stop. Great work!

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  26. papanyana makwe says:

    This movie is crap, so was white wedding. The two leading leading men have no talent at all, but because this is SA, we will continue to see their faces for years to come, and (because we’re black) we’ll be expected to say something positive. Bullshit! Thats the problem with this country, we’re expected to take shit and appreciate it cause its homegrown. Generations, Bafana Bafana, SABC etc. We’re exposed to what the world is churning out in sports, televison, movies, why cant we produce to that standard? No one expects a recreation of American big budget movies or TV, what we’re asking for is good quality productions. First of all how about putting people with talent on the screen, taking care of the technical aspects, sound, good camera technique, and an interesting script. I know it can done because we had good productions before, The Lab is one good example (talented actors at least (90% of them, good lighting, camera work, sound, storylines), etv (news), The Wild, Isidingo. We are not a competitive country, and this is evident in our entertainment industry, the same actors get jobs, the same production houses get commissioned etc. We need to push ourselves creatively to achieve greatness. I know a lot of starving actors, directors, scriptwriters who would have done more with nothing, this movie is crap!

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  27. ChazD says:

    Papayana,
    Obviously you are not in the business of creating films, plays or anything else worthwhile. The negativity in your letter is painful to “listen” too. These people are trying to do something which can not, tell the human story of South Africa using the resources which are available to them. I am a professional actor, director and have been for longer than you have obviously been alive or at least conscious. Please learn how to support the arts instead of being so typical. Anybody can throw stones. It takes work to use those stones to build houses.

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  28. papanyana makwe says:

    Dear Chaz
    I’m not knocking anybody’s hustle, and for the record I do support the arts. I dont need to be in the business of making movies for me to know whats good and whats bad. I’m for South Africans telling their stories. My argument is around quality and talent, things you can achieve even on a small budget, I’ve seen it happen. Tell your stories, but do it in such a way that’ll make me want to go out and buy the DVD, or the movie ticket. I’m tired of supporting crap, and watching the same talentless actors on my screen. The two main actors in this movie have no talent and I’m sick of seeing their faces, and I’m sticking to that

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  29. anonymous says:

    @ Papanya makwe 10/10 for dissing u are very good i give u that. “Leading men having no talent at all ” thats bullshit its your own opinion, if u’ve got nothig good to say rather not comment then. These two movies are great, lastly envy and jelousy is sin.

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  30. papanyana makwe says:

    Rapulana, is that you?

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  31. Mapetla aka Pedro, PTA EAST says:

    papanyana ur jst advertising ur stupidity, ignorance, ur tiny plain mind and failure to spot fine talent when looking at it. i must say ur really r an embarrassment not only to ur family and the country bt 2 urself as well. ppl lyk u prompt me 2 propose da formation of the “Movie Critic Police” to get rid of rotten critics and comments like urs as well as making sure dat u receive drama/film lessons. by da way is papanyana ur real name?…….Pls Dnt answer. Sis man

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  32. papanyana makwe says:

    I’m a Supeeeeeeeeeeerstar. Man, I’ve got all sorts of creatures crawling out from under the rocks, taking shots at me. Well, well, well, look what the cat just dragged in, King Don Pedro from Pretoria West. Opinion is a bitch aint it? And since we all have one, you must be mad at the creator huh. See, the way I figure it, you must have a stake or interest in this movie. I reckon you were an extra, I dont know. Perhaps your brother was a gaffer, or maybe your sister serviced the crew (hey, service can be anything..catering..). So the movie is released, bombs at the box office, and you’re worried it will be off the screens before people see your sorry ass playing an extra. Dont be mad at me MY BROTHER, your precious little movie is a stinker, just another budget wasted on a dumb idea, starring no talent actors and crew. Boo Hoo. by the way, I’m shooting a comedy in Pretoria West, tell your kinfolk I’ve got parts for them, Its in Danville, so they can just walk on to the set. I love You Man (By the way, we can do this for as long as you want, I’m hyped)

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  33. Mapetla aka Pedro, PTA EAST says:

    Wow Papanyana, I really have to salute you for sticking to your guns though they are firing blanks. I pray for the viewers sake that your low budget comedy will make the grade. So are you playing a leading role or just a cameo. i would also lyk to know the release date so i can support ur “fancy, dynamic original masterpiece”. You struck me as the man of your words meaning we’re going to see real talent and the story of our lives. Well Sir Papanyana the platform is yours…… I wish you well and all the success. For your sake i hope It make the grade.

    Go for it Supeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerstar

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  34. papanyana makwe says:

    yeah, yeah, whatever, is your sister coming or not?

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  35. Mapetla aka Pedro, PTA EAST says:

    Yu dnt seize 2 astonish me Paps. Ur an imbecile, narrow minded donkey, a nincompoop. Ur talentless nd u’ve no flipping idea hw this industry work. U r wasting ur R350 that u used to hire the local cameraman who specializes in kids parties to shoot ur script-less mediocre sleeping tablet comedy. Rather use the money to buy books that will educate your sorry black ass. I bet ur boring film wil neva reach ppl in Jozi, i mean not even through piracy. By the way Google the definition of Superstar, surely after knowing the meaning you wont go around calling urself one. ur r an Imbecile, period.

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  36. Mapetla aka Pedro, PTA EAST says:

    Watch out for action packed Paradise Stop 2

    The truth between Johny and Goodness, The return of The General, Ebenezer’s hardships and Potso’s promotion, finding love and his battle to overcome his past and hardships hurled at him by The General.
    Yo Paps, am extending my appreciation by inviting you to audition for a Toilet cleaning role. Dnt worry U wont compete against our talented extras. U can bring along ur fellow imbeciles and nincompoops to prove who is da dumbest of them all.

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  37. papanyana makwe says:

    I see you missed me sweetheart, making you sweat gives me great pleasure. Lets see, so I was right all along, you are a part of this whole inexcusable crap. Part 2? I mean really King Pedro, what did we do to deserve this? Anyway I only wrote to thank you, your sister showed up, and I just wanted to inform you that it went VERY WELL, I love a girl who swallows whats on the menu, hell, I even gave her a bigger part. Now, if you can just get your dad to pitch, we need a driver please.
    Papanyana Makwe (B.A (UCT), Hons (St Johns University) … My documentaries “Nightfall, A Namibian Story” (1997), “Patriots” (1999)… “Kugels, Buppies & Jackrollers” (2001)… “Afro Hoops, A basketball Story” (2004)…. Currently working on “MarabaExpresso” my first movie and comedy

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  38. Chris says:

    White wedding was boring.But this one is far better b’cos of the storyline,drama,the characters r believable well some.The violence was minimal,we don’t need gore b’cos we already live in a violent country.I Loved it.

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  39. Mapetla aka Pedro, PTA EAST says:

    Hi Papanyana your record is REALLY good and i sincerely wish you the best of luck in your work. Pls focus your energy and time to your movie. May the Lord give you new strength and great ideas to produce the best of the best. Peace, over and out.

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  40. dude says:

    stop critizing ! just shut up your smelling mouths if u dont have nothing gud to say ! u dont hav to watch local movies ,, u are so naive if u think international actors are the best ever ,

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  41. N.T.Z says:

    I definately agree with Papanyana because I feel the samething too. Well if you are a filmmaker you expect a good quality. Paradise stop is not that good, it is boring but only if you know what makes a movie tick, if you don’t, well the movie is okay. About the actors, Rapulana is not a person to be on T.V. That is a fact. Kenneth is not really funny but he is trying to be funny and you can actually see that.

    The film would be better if it had more conflict just like in white wedding. You know its like they wrote the script thinking about money, it doesn’t look like they spend enough time on the film. Next time they should try that.

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  42. martin rankae says:

    where can i download the movie which web site or lin

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  43. ChazD says:

    Paradise Stop is a good movie. It is not a great masterpiece but it was meant to be a popular South African flix appealing to folks in this country. Get over yourselves. Try to be supportive.

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  44. Bra Stan says:

    This movie is quite interesting all about Mzansi things which are actually happening around here, speaking our languages freely while acting this nice movie…this movie inspires me makes me want to join the world of drama…..somehow somehow we really need to improve keep on acting movies passing a meaningful message all about Mzansi not to wish to be like other top countries no, we should create our own stories right here right now…..What a best movie keep on Pushing guys we shall get there one day…

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  45. siyabonga says:

    Nice movie

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  46. happy says:

    hahahajahaha everthing that i ‘ve see its shit guys keep complining for nothing

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