October 24, 2013

journey to the self: an intimate portrait of jaspar lepak

Filed under: helgé janssen,music,south african cinema — ABRAXAS @ 1:06 pm


Journey To The Self: an intimate portrait of jaspar lepak is helgé janssen’s astonishing portrait of a singer-songwriter whose life provides an apt metonym for our times. Her exquisitely beautiful voice plangently declares that “all of this violence we witness to women is the shame that we carry for bearing the fruit”, situating misogyny in the crucible of judeo-christian theosophy. Lepak talks about “the sense of loss of growing up in a religion where the pronoun is masculine” and humbly states, “this world wasn’t made for such sensitive things” (as women). “I’m tired of violence being entertainment” she is not ashamed to declare and watching this labour of love that is indeed intimately filmed by janssen, on the same day, as i did, as i watched the ghastly new isaac mutant video, kak stirvy (dookoom), i couldn’t help thinking how utterly lost this country is.

Lepak’s world is a realm outside of the machinations of the marketplace; “i’m still trying to figure out how to be in the world”. Unfortunately the world as it is is not a place any sensitive person would choose to be in/ But we don’t have a choice do we? Janssen made a choice the moment he heard Lepak’s voice at a live concert, he chose to follow her rigorously, filming gigs, recording sessions, soundchecks and, most presciently, a series of intimate conversations with the singer that make you feel like you’re sitting next to her and she’s talking to you for the first time about subjects that are of grave import to her, that are necessary. How she overcame her shyness, “the voice really got stuck inside”, and found her singing voice is a section of the film that will grab you by the throat and have you swallowing back tears and the descriptions of her fight to battle an eating disorder cannot but bring to mind the tragedy of karen carpenter and her battle against anorexia nervosa. “Hunger is a voice that needs to be listened to.” Indeed.

Journey to the self is a film that needs to be seen.

aryan kaganof

contact Helgé Janssen for your copy : holydadasnake@gmail.com

One Response to “journey to the self: an intimate portrait of jaspar lepak”

  1. helge Says:

    Wow Aryan! Just rediscovered your review!!!! Thank you so much for this. Sadly the film has been rejected by every South African film festival that I have submitted it to. Definitely meant for non mainstream audiences and I suppose any criticism of ‘christianity’ is viewed as blasphemy still!!!!!!!