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Hot Docs 2015 Review: The Shore Break

Few documentaries tell a tale that not only informs you, but makes you feel like you’re present. The Shore Break doesn’t just succeed in this, but excels.

The documentary follows the conflict between two cousins, Nonhle and Madiba, from the Pondo Village in South Africa’s Wild Coast. Change is on the horizon for the people of this community as an Australian company and the South African government want to commence mining of titanium in the area. These plans would also include a tolled highway, the N2, which would run through the Wild Coast.

While Mandiba wholeheartedly supports the mining, his cousin Nonhle believes that the community should thrive off eco-tourism and preserve their lifestyle and land. This not only creates a clear rift in their family, but in the community as well, as some see the mining and toll road as necessary progression, not an end to their way of life. All the while, the Pondo’s King and Queen, who stand with those that wish to preserve the land, are dethroned by the South African Government and replaced with the King’s nephew who is for the mining, an action which can only be dealt with in court.

The true beauty of The Shore Break is not in the scenic cinematography, the intricate sand animations, or it’s rich soundtrack, but in it’s masterful storytelling. Director Ryley Grunenwald tells an uncompromising tale putting viewers in the shoes of the Pondo people and allowing them to make the ultimate decision themselves: could this potentially help this community or are you falling victim to the lies of a corporation and the government?

To put it simply, The Shore Break is not only a great documentary, but storytelling at top form.

[star v=4]

Andrew Hamilton

Andrew Hamilton is a Toronto based filmmaker and creative mad man. Legend has it that he spent most of his childhood locked away in a cell beta testing Netflix.