Fiche Film
MOYEN Métrage | 2004
Being Pavarotti
Pays concerné : Afrique du Sud
Durée : 52 minutes
Genre : musical
Type : documentaire


Elton est un garçon de 13 ans qui chante l’opéra à Hermanus, une petite ville dans la province de Western Cape en Afrique du Sud.

Elton Nelson Nkenke Nkanunu est Noir, pauvre et vient d’une famille de six enfants.


Being Pavarotti
Elton is a boy of 13 who sings opera in Hermanus, a small seaside town in the Western Cape province of South Africa, popular with tourists for whale sightings. His love of opera music begins after his cousin gives him a tape by Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti. His passion leads Elton from performing solo stints at open-air festivals to opening acts for established opera singers from nearby Cape Town.

Elton Nelson Nkenke Nkanunu is black, poor and one of six children. His unemployed mother often disappears, leaving his grandmother to soldier on valiantly, fighting off despair with both hands.

Elton’s quest to become an acclaimed opera singer is set against the backdrop of his life as a young teenager. He and his opera-singing friends are harassed by authorities and beaten by police, who prefer to retain foreign tourists at the expense of local black buskers.

Yet his irrepressible talent and love for music bubbles up in him constantly: he belts out Italian arias in the family kitchen, accompanied sweetly and then increasingly raucously by his baby sister; he joins a choir in Zwelihle township; he and his friends sing at school assembly. He jumps at the chance to get voice-training lessons from a music professor, and then from Mthunzi.

Odette Geldenhuys

‘As a human rights lawyer-turned-filmmaker, making Being Pavarotti made me reflect on the role of documentary filmmakers in South Africa – a fledgling democracy marked by deep inequalities.

It is a gentle film about an ordinary boy with an
extraordinary talent. By following the life of Elton Nkanunu over a year, different themes unfolded. What is his life like in a black township just outside Hermanus, an international tourist destination? Singing is a particular talent of many South Africans. What happens to this abundant talent and who nurtures young talent in our new democracy?’

Country South Africa
Production Company Angel Films
Director Odette Geldenhuys
Producer Ingrid Gavshon
DOP Odette Geldenhuys & Theo Antoniou
Editor Tracy Clayton
Executive Producers Steven Markovitz, Letebele Masemola-Jones, Jennifer Fox
Commissioning Editors SABC1- Siven Maslamoney, Pat van Heerden
Length 50 min
Language English, Xhosa, Afrikaans
Format Digital Betacam
Premiere Berlin Film Festival 2004
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