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Film review - Tornado

Tornado tells a true-life story of Pierre, a depressed and broken young man, and Tornado, an emotionally tormented horse. As the Director, Regardt van den Bergh said: "This film is about broken people, I believe we are all broken and we could all do with some healing."

Pierre van Rooyen was raised on a farm amongst cattle and horses. From an early age he displayed an exceptional talent for long distance running and at school broke one athletics record after the other. However, as he began to experience extreme pain in his ankles, doctors diagnosed him with rheumatoid arthritis, which meant that his running days were over.

This was devastating to the young boy and he battled with depression. In university he changed his Agricultural degree to Theology, and then to Equine studies. During the practical part of his Equine studies he met up with Tornado, a young Arab stallion with self-mutilation syndrome. Pierre identified with this tormented horse and gained permission from the owner and the lecturers to include Tornado's emotional therapy in his studies.

Hearing of a horse whisperer in the Kalahari Dessert he made contact with Barry Burger and traveled to Noenieput in the vast wilderness of the Kalahari to see if this eccentric missionary was able to rehabilitate Tornado.

Barry Burger started Kalahari Missions in 1985 using horses as his primary method of transport to reach the lonely and isolated people of the desert. In his over 20 years of constant and intimate relationships with horses, Barry Burger became an expert In methods of communication with these silent creatures. As Pierre found, Barry's extraordinary ability to work with difficult horses was astounding.

Tornado is a refreshingly different story of a journey of healing and self-discovery. The logistical complications of filming in such a remote wilderness must have been a great challenge.

Director Regardt van den Bergh has won awards for producing true-life stories such as The Gospel According to Matthew, and Faith Like Potatoes. He also recently produced the excellent Christian film Hansie.

Animal lovers will particularly delight in this insightful and sensitive film about the Arab stallion, Tornado.

For numerous of the key riding scenes the actual characters on whom the story is based doubled for the actors.

Lean van den Bergh, the daughter of the director, makes a very talented screen debut in this film.

Although the Gospel is not explicitly presented, the Bible and the cross are clearly focused on, and God's Creation and healing Hand are prominently celebrated. This is a refreshingly different film from any I had seen before. It deserves to be supported and we pray for its success.

Tornado will be released in South African cinemas on 10 April 2009.

The official Tornado website:

Reviewed by Dr. Peter Hammond

Africa Christian Action
PO Box 23632
Cape Town
South Africa
Tel: 021-689 4481

Date Added: 2009-03-31

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