Comparisons to older Woody Allen classics are rife in the reviews of Catching Feelings. The parallels only struck me afterwards, in reflection, and not while I was watching it. The first of the two ways in which it resembles a Woody Allen film is in that Kagiso Lediga stars in it as well as having written and directed it, setting it within a cultural context in which we can safely believe Lediga himself lives in real life; and the other is that one of the most prevalent and repetitive motifs is men and women who cheat on their spouses. The ways in which the two filmmakers are different is far more numerous, and, as always, more interesting to consider.
Read others’ reviews of Catching Feelings here.
Lediga demonstratively and immediately establishes the location of his film — the City of Johannesburg — as an important feature in the story; unlike Allen’s encomium of New York City in the prologue to Manhattan, Lediga’s attitude towards Johannesburg and its people is far sourer, and his emotional responses far more tempered. The scene is set after an animated prologue, in which a soldier grows horns out of jealousy and possessiveness over his wife, whom he catches engaging in the rut with a “Moor”. It’s styled as a faux-medieval comic book fantasy, and indicates that the central problem to be faced in the unfolding film is cuckoldry, in all its archaic and patriarchal tensions.