Catching Feelings marks Kagiso Lediga’s directorial debut. The comedian-cum-actor is also responsible for the film’s script and takes on the lead role to make this production a truly South African take.

Funded by the Industrial Development Corporation and the Department of Trade and Industry, the film premiered globally at the Los Angeles Film Festival in June, last year and went on to premier in New York last month at the Urbanworld Film Festival. The Weekly Gazette saw a preview of Catching Feelings on Thursday, 1 March.

The film dabbles in a genre that’s fairly new to the big screen: dark comedy. This, intertwined with a romance that starts in the middle makes for a unique story line. Despite the title, Catching Feelings, the love story of Sam (Pearl Thusi) and protagonist, Max (Kagiso Lediga) is told from the midst of their happy marriage, and unlike the usual honeymoon period that flashes across the happily-ever-after screen, this love starts happy and ends in uncertainty. When womanising Heiner (Andrew Buckland), a renowned ex-pat author returns to Johannesburg for a book tour and ends up staying in the happy couples house, tensions run high. As viewers see a wife catching feelings for someone else, the line between reality and a mind stricken with jealousy are blurred. A side narrative confronts audiences as betrayal is seen from the other side when Joel (Akin Omotoso) and Tabitha(Kate Liquorish) flirt with fidelity.

Romance and betrayal skirt around the story of a cynical english professor as the film tackles a post-apartheid South African discourse. While racism is overtly discussed by the characters, the unspoken presence of sexism confronts
each racially charged discussion with a subtle lens that many may miss. The film contends with international productions in its script, cinematography and acting, although audiences may want to double up on snacks for the mammoth watch of 2 hours and 4 minutes. The film’s climax seems to come well past the half way mark although the drawn out introduction does set the scene for a shocking plot twist.

Lediga takes on the big screen with a solid start.