By Sharon Calingasan
Lola is a South African film about a young woman of the same name and her friends who are bent on staying in school and pursuing college education despite the odds. They are, however, being bullied by a group of out-of-school youth who are more content hanging around and playing volleyball to their hearts’ content than with going to school. Fed up with their harassment, Lola challenges them to a volleyball tournament to make the disrespectful group realize that she and her friends can excel both in sports and academic pursuits.
The film tackles issues like bullying and the importance of education but it’s also about the role of sports in molding values like motivation, sportsmanship and teamwork. Lola’s group also raises funds for their schooling by transforming a room into a disco hall and prepares for the volleyball tournament by taking in a male friend as their coach. As it turns out, the friendly volleyball match yields positive results between Lola’s group and the rival team and viewers can ultimately see how a sports tournament can change people’s perspectives despite the usual bickering between them.
Acting-wise, Constance Shangas may not necessarily stand out for her portrayal of Lola but her performance is one of sincere and commendable simplicity. Among the men, the opposing team’s coach, Billy, is a highlight for the restless and cumbersome personality that he possesses, and the “˜trouble-maker’ streak he effectively conveys. It’s obvious as well, from the way he annoys Lola, that he’s head-over-heels smitten with the leading lady.
Technically, the film Lola does not boast cinematic and breath-taking shots but the simple and straight-forward filming is still effective in conveying essential matters to the viewers. While the most observed techniques include panning, zoom-in/zoom-outs and close-ups, it’s all basically well-thought-out shots that provide a clear view of the characters in each scene.
In its simplicity, the film genuinely reveals the lives and relationships of South African youth – their day-to-day activities, such as sports, like volleyball, and other sources of entertainment, like discos – as well as providing some wider insight into the aspirations and perspectives of these young people, many of whom hold an honest desire to be educated.
Watch Lola on FilmDoo.com.