Faith Like Potatoes film review
Faith like Potatoes
Now on DVD is the film Faith like Potatoes which I recently rented. As I write this hub, the film is currently available from the Red Box. A little known and not widely advertised film as Christian films often aren't, this movie is a very touching story based on real life events. The film is based on the true life story of Angus Buchan and a book by the same name was published in 1988. Whatever your Christian denomination or other religion, you may be touched by this film and strengthened in faith and belief in miracles. Stories like this ought to be told more often.
In actuality, when I say little known, it really depends on who you ask, for this film has been internationally acclaimed. It was released in South Africa in 2006 and released in the United States in April 2009. It is the winner of various International film awards
Directed by Regardt van den Bergh, Faith like Potatoes stars Frank Rautenbach in his portrayal of a man named Angus. Angus is a Caucasian man of Scottish descent but was born in Zimbabwe. At one point his family moved to Zambia where Angus eventually met his wife. Angus aquired a lot of land and had a very successful farm numbering in the amount of over 3,000 acres of land.
Relocating to South Africa
As depicted in the film, sadly, because of political unrest, the farmers in Angus' area begin to struggle profoundly. Angus holds on for as long as he could but eventually he has to sell his land for significantly less than it was worth while relocating to South Africa with his family.
They take a big truck and load the back to capacity for the journey. When Angus' children ask him what they could take with them, he says "Whatever could fit". The children despondantly pack in their teddy bears and other toys.
Angus, his wife and children get into the truck and wave goodbye to the men who helped Angus work his land. They say, "We'll miss you!" and so the journey begins.
This is one of the most scenic parts of the film showing the beautiful countryside and greenery during the drive.
When the family arrives in South Africa, their home is a small trailer to start. The kids begin going to schools almost immediately as their mother sends them off in their uniforms. Angus and his wife accept that arrangement glad for not having to send the children to boarding school.
Angus begins to work the land while trying to figure out what he can possibly grow. The land is parched and dry. Drought conditions are expected to worsen with the El Nino.
Angus is prone to quick anger whenever he gets frustrated just as he had been while living in Zambia.
Faith Like Potatoes Trailer
People try to approach him and help him but he turns them away. He finally accepts the help of one man who is looking for work. Simeon played by Hamilton Dhlamini becomes Angus' foreman.
From trailer to mud hut
Simeon is quite a funny character. He tells Angus that he and his family can not live in a "toy house". It is just not right. Simeon only speaks Zulu and Angus barely understands any Zulu but with the help of a translating friend, Simeon is able to explain that with some help he can build a home for the family within 3 weeks.
They subsequently set out to build a "mud hut" in the Zulu tradition. Angus' whole family pitches in and get very muddy in the process but in the end, they have a home that is much bigger and sturdier than the trailer. Later we see the interior and the family manages to decorate it quite nicely.
Nevertheless, as time passes, not too much changes with Angus' behavior. His wife is worried about him. Urged by a friend, they get the family together for a breakfast with the community at a Methodist church. It is there that something is moved inside Angus.
Giving his life to Jesus
Angus approaches the altar and 'gives himself to Jesus' as many of the fellow gatherers do. He in fact does this with his wife and children because since he had not been 'a church going man', neither had the rest of the family. Therefore, at this time both his wife and children join him in his spiritual path.
Angus begins attending services regularly with his family and listening intently to the preacher. He is truly touched and becomes a calmer, happier and more prayerful person.
He is even moved to action in wanting to become an evangelist himself. He prays that God will not allow him to make "a fool of [himself]" as he sets out to begin speaking to others.
He is pleased and gains confidence as people show up in crowds to hear his message.
Good things begin to happen, often amazing things that a person of strong faith would feel is nothing other than miraculous. They include the survival of a woman struck by lightening and thought to be dead, sudden and unexpected rain during dry season dampening a wild fire, and the survival of potato crops.
Angus always says that unlike maize, the potatoes are buried in the earth and you can not see how they are doing, whether they are growing, until it is time to harvest them. His crops are not expected to survive because of the harsh weather conditions but they do.
Despite times of good fortune, Angus and his family also suffer unspeakable tragedy as is portrayed in the film. Bad things still happen sometimes but his faith remains strong and his family is able to ride the storm. That in itself is a lesson about faith.
As I have mentioned in my other film reviews, I like to watch the additional "special features" when I watch a dvd. If you rent Faith like Potatoes on dvd, you will find a special feature that is narrated by Frank Rautenbach, the actor who plays Angus.
In this feature, Angus Buchan himself is interviewed along with his wife and the camera follows him on the work he is still doing today. He has house mothers employed on his land, as several houses for orphaned children with HIV/AIDS have opened up on the land. His ministry and evangelism continues.
Faith like Potatoes is an excellent film. I rate it 5/5 stars
Directed by Regardt van den Bergh, Starring Frank Rautenbach, Jeanne Wilhelm, Hamilton Dhlamini, and others.
Faith like Potatoes theatrical poster
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