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Directed by Katinka Heyns
Starring Marius Weyers
Music by Sue Grealy
Release date
  • 23 January 1997 (1997-01-23)
Running time
119 minutes
Country South Africa
Language Afrikaans

Paljas (meaning "magic" or to cast a spell) is an Afrikaans language South African film that was released in 1997. Paljas was written by Chris Barnard and directed by Katinka Heyns.


The film was submitted for the 70th Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, the first South African submission since the end of Apartheid.[1][2]


The film revolves around the lives of the rural McDonald family. The household of Hendrik McDonald, stationmaster of the tiny Karoo town, Toorwater (Magic Water), experience a number of unexpected situations when a travelling circus troupe leave behind a clown named Manuel. The intrigues of the story include the estranged relationship between Hendrik and his wife Katrien, partly due to her being admired by Frans Lombard. Meanwhile, their daughter Emma is discontented with her suitor, Nollie Kemp, and Willem, the household's youngest, remains withdrawn and refuses to talk. The continued presence of the eccentric clown, Manuel, is kept secret by Willem. Manuel is later cruelly chased and shot by some of the local community who consider him to be evidence of anti-Christian forces despite having succeeded in convincing Willem to communicate and healed much of the family's pain through his caring and fun nature.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
  2. ^ "44 Countries Hoping for Oscar Nominations". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 24 November 1997. Archived from the original on 13 February 1998. Retrieved 13 October 2015. 

External links[edit]