The gospels in the bible do not give much positivity to movie remakes. Luke 5 verse 37 says, “And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined,” so does Mark and Mathew.
Neria 2021, a remake of the popular Zimbabwean classic Neria 1991 by Rawsoot Studios is set to stand against the test of time as it hits the screen for the first time on the 25th of November.
The old Neria, an award-winning film, remains the highest-grossing movie in Zimbabwe. A standard that most contemporary films in Zimbabwe have failed to surpass as they face a lot of criticism and backlash.
The issues raised in the old production have evolved over the years and it is high time the story was re-told using a contemporary perspective, says Rawsoot Studios Executive Director, Vimbai Sinchuke.
“The issues raised in the 1993 production over the years have evolved and Rawsoot Studios has relooked into the cultural inheritance issues, the existing legal provisions and the advent of social media, technology, and modern societies to retell this Zimbabwean story using high filming standards to a global audience and once again bring awareness to end all forms of harm against women,” she said.
“If anything, we played around a lot with the Zimbabwean culture I production design, dialogues, and wardrobe. The language is mostly in English and there is a fusion of both Ndebele and Shona in the dialogues because of how we structured the characters,” further explained Vimbai.
The storyline generally remains the same, but the producers and directors added their flesh, with a bit of modern creativity to the movie. The Director of Photography, Siyabonga Sayi alluded to that Zimbabweans are conservative when it comes to culture and the visuals in Neria match the culture but also portray an ideal society that should exist in the face of new challenges that women face.
“We were not constrained by what happened in the first film. We wanted to raise new challenges that women are facing in the current context. So people should expect a new twist to the challenges, such as cyberbullying, which is raised in the film, and also the representation of women in the corporate world. Even the main character, what she does, her job, is different from the first movie,” said Sayi.
The premier date was intentionally set to collide with the celebration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women which marks the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence.
“ We wanted to mark and celebrate that day together with Zimbabwe and the rest of the world as this film addresses the plight of women in Africa. It also marks the 30th anniversary of the old Neria,” highlighted Sayi.
Violence against women continues to be an obstacle to achieving equality, development, peace as well as the fulfillment of women and girls’ human rights.
The premier event is set to be graced by government officials, supporting and relevant agencies such as UN Women, international organisations, the civic society, and the media at Ster-Kinekor, Sam Levy Studios.