Young South Africans looking for adventure and meaning in their lives are little more than symbolic ciphers in “34 South,” a marginally amusing comedy-drama most notable as the first feature by a non-white female South African director. Script by producer Dingi Ntuli, Beverly Mitchell and Weaam Williams and helming by Maganthrie Pillay display a firmer grasp of the idea than the execution of a road pic, depicting every ethnic strain in the Capetown region where pic is set. Ultra-indie production opened in Los Angeles on March 11 and will be shown caravan style across the country. Niche fests abroad may show slight interest.
Band of economically struggling Capetown young folks get the notion to hop in a slightly hobbled van and trek to Johannesburg, the burg of their dreams. Each member of the group is less a distinct character than a symbolic type, and the story moves along in an equally literal fashion. The van breaks down within convenient distance of a village rich with a history that encompasses South Africa’s multicultural past, but the big ideas clash with time outs for weak comedy, tragedy and romance.