» » Мысли о свободе (2005)

Мысли о свободе (2005) online

Мысли о свободе (2005) online
Original Title :
Genre :
Movie / Adventure / Drama / Family
Year :
Directror :
Carroll Ballard
Cast :
Alex Michaeletos,Campbell Scott,Hope Davis
Writer :
Carol Cawthra Hopcraft,Xan Hopcraft
Budget :
Type :
Time :
1h 40min
Rating :

An orphaned cheetah becomes the best friend and pet of a young boy living in South Africa.

Мысли о свободе (2005) online

Title: Мысли о свободе (2005). Daikaijû Batoru: Urutora Ginga Densetsu - The Movie (2009). Action Adventure Family.

Весьегонская волчица (2004), трейлеры. Vesegonskaya Volchitsa. Мысли о свободе (2005). Весьегонская волчица. Сильный фильм "Весьегонская волчица" Всегда помните о том что вы люди.

Мысли о свободе - фильм 2005 года, режиссёром которого является Кэррол Бэллард, рассказывающий о дружбе южноафриканского мальчика и осиротевшего гепарда. Фильм поставлен по мотивам автобиографической книги How it Was With Dooms Ксана Хопкрафта и Кэрола Кавтра Хопкрафта.

Мысли о свободе (2005) - Duma. Всё о фильме: дата выхода, трейлеры, фото, актеры. Отзывы зрителей и профессиональные рецензии. Общие сборы и бюджет фильма. Интересные факты и ошибки в фильме.

Watch online full movie The Cabin Movie (2005) for free Three couples travel to a secluded cabin in an attempt to revitalize their lives through bizarre games of sexual dysfunction. The Cabin Movie (2005).

Watch Movie Мысли о свободе Online. 000,00, e arrecadou um valor considerável, conforme vocês podem conferir na tabela abaixo. Мысли о свободе segue na linha oposta das narrativas mais bem elaboradas, com ótimas atuações e uma fotografia excelente, recomendamos assistir Мысли о свободе online, é um filme fantástico e com certeza você não irá se arrepender! Depois venha aqui e conte pra gente o que achou, beleza? Нашли ошибку в тексте?

During a nightly Porsche ride with his doting rascal Xan, white South African farmer Peter finds and adopts an orphaned cheetah cub, dubbed Duma (just Swahili for cheetah). It becomes the boy's inseparable playmate, even taking it to bed. Peter made clear from the start that the cheetah should be returned to the wild before its full adulthood. But the father is stricken down with a disease just before the cheetah could be returned. Xan's mother sells the farm and moves in with a city aunt. The cheetah escapes, but finds Xan at school, where the new boy is bullied. He decides to run away to the mountains with Duma. On the way they face countless perils, which courage, Xan's intelligence and Duma's instinct overcome.
Cast overview, first billed only:
Alex Michaeletos Alex Michaeletos - Xan (as Alexander Michaletos)
Campbell Scott Campbell Scott - Peter
Mary Makhatho Mary Makhatho - Thandi
Nthabiseng Kenoshi Nthabiseng Kenoshi - Lucille
Hope Davis Hope Davis - Kristin
Jennifer Steyn Jennifer Steyn - Aunt Gwen
Nicky Rebelo Nicky Rebelo - Coach Nagy
Garth Renecle Garth Renecle - Hock Bender
André Stolz André Stolz - Xan's Teacher
Charlotte Savage Charlotte Savage - Poetry Student
Ronald Shange Ronald Shange - Policeman
Eamonn Walker Eamonn Walker - Ripkuna
Nadia Kretschmer Nadia Kretschmer - Tourist #1
John Whiteley John Whiteley - Tourist #2
Clive Scott Clive Scott - Tourist #3 - Eager Man

Duma is played by 6 different Cheetahs. All orphaned or poached Cheetahs themselves; were hand raised in different parts of Africa.

User reviews



This was such a lovely film for everyone, and it seems to be ending its New York run this Sunday, October 16th after just 17 days. Why? Not only did it receive excellent reviews, the showing I attended last Saturday afternoon in the counter-cultural East Village was packed! As a much needed quality family film, "Duma" should have been given a wide release and much more promotion. I rarely go to the movies, and I was waiting and hoping for its release for months.

A wonderful family film with affection, learning, adventure, mystery, and respect between the boy Xan and his cheetah, Xan's father and mother, and Xan's friend Rip. It also has a Prodigal Son theme. The cinematography is exquisite, with the golden cat with the golden eyes and the golden African desert and savanna that seem to stretch on for eternity.

A beautiful, humorous, gentle, poignant, and touching film about love, kindness, and mercy. A genuinely loving family. The courage to grow up. Are these values too truthful for Hollywood, or they too real for the general public?


I have no idea why this movie got such a small-scale cinema release. It certainly can't have anything to do with the quality of the film. I was surprised by Duma, because it's an extremely well-directed film which treats its audience with far more respect and intelligence than a lot of so-called "family" fare available. Also, as opposed to many films with animal protagonists, Duma doesn't treat them as objects of half-witted hokey slapstick fun, but instead makes the entire friendship between human and animal seem extremely touching and authentic.

In a way there is something almost Miyazaki -esque about this movie, in that it draws you into the narrative not with half-baked nudge nudge wink wink references which only adults will understand, but through its intelligence and excellent sense of drama alone; not to mention the great performances by Eamonn Walker and Alexander Michaeletos - two names to look out for in the future if their performances here are anything to go by. At any rate, Duma is one of the few cases where the possibly over-used moniker "A film for all ages" definitely applies. Recommended if you can find it.


I feel fortunate that Warner Brothers has chosen to screen "Duma" here in the Chicago area. I only hope they decide to support a nationwide release because this is a movie that deserves to be seen. I found myself crying several times at the touching story, and also heard my own laughter echoed by others in the theater during the humorous moments.

I found out about "Duma" while I was researching a book I'm currently reading. It's called "The Spotted Sphinx" and is by Joy Adamson - the same woman who wrote "Born Free". During the filming of the movie based on the book "Born Free", Joy was given a young female cheetah and was asked if she could rehabilitate it back into the wild. "The Spotted Sphinx" and its follow-up, "Pippa's Challenge" are about that rehabilitation process. "Duma" is about a similar situation, except it is about a young boy and how he also finds himself while helping his pet cheetah find "home" again. The boy who portrays "Xan" is excellent in the role and you can really feel the love he has for his animal. The cinematography is beautiful, and I was very pleased with how true-to-life they were with how cheetahs interact with people. Cheetahs can be tamed (for the most part) and are very affectionate - something that was shown in the film.

I went to a matinée showing, fully expecting to be one of only a few in the theater, but was pleasantly surprised to find it almost full. There were more adults than children, so that just shows that the limited press "Duma" received was enough to make others want to see this film while they had the chance. I'm an adult, and have no children, but love films that show the beauty of nature and positive interactions with animals. This would be a great film to bring kids to, particularly boys since Xan had such an amazing coming of age adventure.

By the way, the music is excellent too. I really hope they end up releasing this on DVD.


This movie is so good, I wonder why it is in such limited release? At least in Wales, it only plays for two showings each weekend. Anyway--- I like animal movies, generally. Even those that stray into a bit of the fantasy, such as 'Bingo', and 'Two Brothers', can be enjoyable and charming.

'Duma' was delightful. I have not read about the making of the movie, but they did use real cheetahs. Some kittens, adolescents, and maybe adults, too. I found the representations of the human-cheetah relationship entirely believable. And even though this is a 'family' movie, and suitable for 12 year-olds, it was also solid enough to get an adult through it as well. The peril is plausible, the characters' motivations and behaviors seem reasonable.

Overall, the movie worked well enough as a movie--- entertaining, dramatic, etc. But more, and the reason I gave it a 10 out of 10, is the movie also seemed to portray the charm, grace, and dignity of a truly great relationship a human can have with an animal. That, placed in the movie-world context of family drama and human enterprise, is a wonderful and magical thing.


"Nature breaks through the eyes of the cat." Irish proverb

With the emergence of digitized everything, photography of the actual thing is now the amazement. Splendid is everything visualized in Duma, the story of a young South African boy, Xan (Alex Michaeletos) who brings up an orphaned cheetah, Duma, to the day when his father (Campbell Scott) decides it is perilously close to the time when Duma couldn't survive in the wild.

And so, about the time they are to return Duma to his world, Xan becomes a sort of orphan himself because dad dies and leaves Xan and his mother with a big ranch to tend. As predictable as the right of passage story that ensues with Xan taking Duma back, there is a freshness of simplicity and beauty, joy and sorrow that overwhelms the clichés and makes you eager to go back to animal stories of early film, like Old Yeller, where the pets are as human than their masters and make real the abstract idea of Nature.

An unusual care for lens and animal is palpable from director Carroll Ballard and cinematographer Werner Meritz, unforgettable even. The four cheetahs used for Duma are as often lensed close up as they are in long shots, beautifully stretching their sixty-mile –an-hour legs.

With the consistency director Carroll Ballard showed in the acclaimed Fly Away Home, he weaves the theme of abandonment and reconciliation into every major scene: Even the enigmatic intruder Rip (Eamon Walker) has exiled himself from his tribe and is now returning home, cruising the river with Xan like Huck and Jim. That eventually animals and humans must take up their responsibilities is also present almost from the first frame.

Nothing new here, just a good old-fashioned pet tale, which never is boring for me, a perpetual boy with an English major's tendency to see poetry in a landscape or a cheetah's eye.

"Nature never did betray the heart that loved her." Wordsworth


Duma - A story about an orphaned Cheetah and a boy who rediscovers his life after an unfortunate tragedy - A journey that ends with a new beginning.

I often watch films made in America and by American directors that depict African scenes in their movies, and they can never truly portray the African way of life.

Carroll Ballard is one of the first to successfully portray this properly - well, almost :-) He still used the word "Gas" instead of the word "Petrol". Us South Africans never say gas. He also changed the geography of the journey quite dramatically, and at times Xan jumped miraculously 500 km from the East of Botswana to the west of South Africa, and suddenly 5 min later, he jumped 500 km north to the Central North West of Botswana (The Okavango Delta).

But please don't think I am bad mouthing the movie. Everyone is allowed the use of poetic license, and the way that Carroll Ballard did this showcased some of the most beautiful places in Southern Africa, and the world, including Augrabies Falls in South Africa, Sowa Pan and Kubu Island (Part of the largest salt pans in the world, the Magadigadi Pans), the Okavango Delta and many more...

The story is blissfully simple, allowing young children to enjoy this film without asking questions, as well as allowing adults to marvel at the scenes being shown to them.

The photography as far as the filming of the cheetahs goes as well as the African wilderness, was magnificent, as well as the sound effects...they were not artificial, unlike many of the other films made today, which use completely unnatural sound effects for the animals.

A must see for anyone who appreciates a good, heartwarming story, the African wilderness and good, honest, down to earth film making 9/10


"Duma" comes along to show us it is possible to create a work of art that combines compassion, intelligence, creativity, and insight. I'm a bit hesitant to even mind some of the comments made by a few people about this film. It is NOT about the people of the country, or a particular point of view. It is supposed to be about a boy and his closest relationship to another living thing on this planet. It is an adventure that doesn't rely on cheap special effects and far fetched ideas that no one but a movie executive find any connection to. It is not about throwing a gimmick in front of our faces and failing to deliver. "Duma" just opens a window to a world that is slowly dying in front of us.

After seeing the film, I couldn't stop thinking about the marvelous nature of the cheetah, as a creature, a friend, another member of this world's wonders. As the film unfolds, we witness other marvels along the way, as our young protagonist finds ways to solve several quests in the story. There were a few instances where I had to catch my breath for the sheer magic displayed on the screen: the vistas, the expressions, the lyrical beauty which was composed by the various parts. It was a universal experience that can reach and touch both adults and children. The best part is that we went back to the primal essence of cinema, the ability to conjure or transports us to the magic that exists in our own world.

"Duma" stands for the soul in us, a part of our world that keeps us going and refuses to let go. An artist, like Mr. Ballard can create this type of entertainment, the kind that allows us to reflect on what is important, leads us to think and to care about where we're going, and what the rewards and consequences might be. This is an important film that, in typical fashion, is being neglected by the moguls of entertainment. Catch it in the big screen to get its full impact, relish it, and pass the word around. Here is a film that earns the title of a classic right away.


Our family saw Duma yesterday and we loved it so much, I had to place our vote today! Congratulations to Carroll Ballard, Warner Brothers and everyone else responsible for creating such a beautifully filmed movie with an equally as wonderful story! Duma is a must see for children; it sure beats most everything else out today in terms of story quality! The cinematography was incredible and all scenes involving animals were wonderfully done. I hope that big studios bring us more movies of this caliber for family entertainment. I for one, and hopefully not the only one, am tired of special effects carrying a movie as well as heroes and villains that are way too out of the ordinary.


This film was a rare pleasure to behold, much like the joy I experienced in September 1993 at the Toronto International Film Festival screening of "SIRGA: L'infant Lion" (yet to be released on DVD in North America although released in Germany a few years ago). There are deeper messages here and these are truly welcome, unlike so much of the swill that passes for family entertainment these days. As much as I enjoyed "Two Brothers" (Jean-Jacques Annaud) recently, I do prefer this film by a director whose last film I enjoyed at the Toronto Festival some 8+ years ago - "Fly Away Home".

The journey taken by the 12 year old boy reminds me somewhat of the journey taken by a slightly younger lad and his sister in the also-compelling early 70s Nicholas Roeg film "Walkabout" which I also highly recommend if you like nature-type films (or should I say "au natural" type films ... ha ha). I rate this one 9 out of 10.

Anyway make sure you get to see this once it comes to your part of the world either theatrically or, likelier on DVD.


Being used to today's explosion-filled, fast-paced movies being churned out on a weekly basis for the sake of selling tickets, Duma is what I'd like to say a slap in the face for all of us who get excited over the mediocrity that has brought out "The Interpreter," "Stealth," and what else is playing now...? A movie that I would definitely recommend for an entire family to watch together, there's nothing in here that would make you want to cover your kids' eyes or ears up at anytime. Instead you'd want for them, and for yourself, to sit up and pay attention to this smooth, smart movie.

Don't wait for any explosions. There is a story being told in this movie, and its being told with a fresh touch of poetry which I haven't seen in a long time.

I gave this movie an 8/10 because of one reason: Although the movie is set in Africa, its really hard to tell until halfway through the movie. In fact, the place looked whiter than Little Rock, Arkansas! But it got an 8/10 because of the story, the storytelling, and the smooth pace at which the movie flows.


A lot of parents, myself included, enjoy movies and are constantly looking for something worthwhile to attend a theater and take our kids to. I prefer to enjoy the movie I've paid for and would rather be at least a little interested. Unfortunately the last few years have been extremely hard on parents; if we want to take our kids to movies we might as well sleep because the movie is going to insult our intelligence and have the kids repeating the most annoying catch phrases for the next week. I'd rather not and try to keep that kind of movie watching to a minimum or less. I found Duma by accident while I was looking through foreign films to be shown at Seattle's Northwest Film Forum. There they had a small summary of the film and I was curious to see if they were right. I took my husband and eight-year-old daughter to see Duma and was very pleased. Duma has the cute cat, a cute kid, loving parents, but also something more about growing up with a conscience and braving your environment to accomplish something great. I saw Black Beauty as a child and loved it. So tonight when I saw Duma I was surprised that the director Carroll Ballard also directed Fly Away Home another winner movie. This is the sort of film that makes you feel good as if you have watched Disney's White Fang. The previous reviewer mentioned that it was reminiscent of Walkabout; another good film. But how many films do we get to see a realistic Africa in? If the Disney company could take a lesson and hire intelligent directors like Carroll Ballard and I wouldn't have to screen the critics before going to the movies--boy that would be nice. I'm also grateful to Roger Ebert for recommending this film and making Warner Brothers take notice that the film they were ready to shelf is worth more than they give it credit for. My daughter cried, and laughter and said she really liked this film. I feel the same way, but on so many more levels. Kudos to everyone who worked on this film to make it worth substance!


Many years ago Carroll Ballard (little known that time) with already famous in that days Francis Ford Coppola created a stunning visual treat called The Black Stallion. Now more than twenty fives years later this exceptionally talented director (unfortunately I haven't seen his Fly Away Home) brought to us another terrific masterpiece, movie filled with beauty and love.

This time it is a story of Xan, twelve or thirteen years old boy, who lives with his parents on their farm somewhere in the heart of South Africa. Their life is very close to what we can call harmony with outward things and particularly with wild nature. One day Xan with his father accidentally found on a road a helpless cheetah cub and since than Duma (they picked up such a name because Duma on Swahili means cheetah) became a part of the family. Soon bonds of friendship or love (depends on how you would call that) tie the boy and the animal but as wisely said Xan's father they can't breed Duma forever and some day they must set him free. However some unexpected obstacles forced them to move into a big city and after an accident in the school Xan realizes that the time has come and he must do something for his friend. So the adventure begins. I guess some people could find that hardly possible but than our heart tells us sometimes we can do things hardly explainable and the movie shows us that Xan is not a cosset city boy. He must travel through hundred of miles and many tests and finally he grow up during this adventure. Although there is nothing spoiled in Xan's character (there are obviously some similarities with Kelly Reno's Alec from mentioned The Black Stallion) throughout the movie we can see that he is just a more or less ordinary boy who is doing the things he believes in. And that's the most important here is somehow his innocence and pure heart is able to awake the best in people around him. This character is brought to life by Alex Michaletos, who was terrific playing such interesting and memorable character. This newcomer for hour and a half makes me feel sick about most of overrated today's Hollywood young stars. His performance is full of life and very believable all the time. Eamonn Walker (who plays Ripkuna, a mysterious man whom Xan meets in his journey) is a good and very suitable choice for that character. Among other decent supporting cast it is worth to mention Campbell Scott and Hope Davis as Xan's parents.

The cinematography is excellent all over the movie from subtle shots on the farm to beautiful shots of wild savanna and desert. There is a feeling of harmony and some easy to feel beauty here. However it's quite important that the director always know sense of proportion and the movie never looks like a Discovery or Animal Planet show. One of the main heroes, the beautiful cat is also perfectly shot from different angles. Nice music with lots of thematic African elements excellently supplements all the rest.

Duma is a very beautiful, intelligent and poignant movie about discovering, love, friendship and all positive in human beings. This message of the movie is quite simple. The beauty, love and human kindness still can save our world and this is worth fighting for. Unfortunately these values are not very common to modern Hollywood production. This movie didn't get a wide distribution with reasonable marketing campaign, which it definitely deserved (unfortunately in our commercialized world you hardly can sell anything without good marketing). In my personal opinion Duma is one of the very best motion pictures of the year, and the only second movie that earn my respect and got highest possible grade from me (the other one was Dear Frankie). Congratulations and my sincere gratitude to Warner Bros., Carroll Ballard and all people involved in making this spectacular masterpiece. I'm also so happy that I was able to watch Duma on English, not only a dubbed version (although this time it wasn't really bad).

Thanks for reading.


An exquisite film that weaves a compelling tale of friendship and loss of a family member without pulling any punches. The characters all act in a believable fashion and have more depth than in many such films. Each character is driven by their own motives -- not always honorable. The camera work brings alive the scenery and the animals without being overdone. Each shot is well chosen and suited to the story. The direction and editing are crisp and effective. This film deserves a wider distribution as it is far superior to much of the family fare out there and deals with real issues. If its in your neighborhood, get out and see it.


It is a real shame that DUMA failed to receive any sort of theatrical release here in New Zealand, as the film offers many enchanting moments for adults and children alike. The story mainly concerns the strong bond between Xan, a young white South African boy, and Duma, his orphaned Cheetah, and the adventures they have as they cross the country to return Duma his homeland to attempt to induct him back into the wild.

DUMA is directed by Carroll Ballard with an unparalleled eye for the visual beauty of the scenery and countless creatures found in this natural habitat; so much so that you could be mistaken for thinking that you were watching the Discovery Channel at times. Alexander Michaletos (Xan) has the majority of the screen time and gives a solid performance in conveying a broad range of emotions and feelings and seems right at home with his feral co-stars. Eamonn Walker, as Ripkuna, and Campbell Scott and Hope Davis, in limited roles as Xan's parents, are all also outstanding, and the work with the Cheetah(s) is remarkable with little, if any, cheating using CGI.

Perhaps the greatest achievement of this film, however, is to fully develop Duma, yes - the Cheetah, into a genuine three dimensional character. The way camera lingers on this magnificent creature, highlighting his stripes and fur, reactions and mannerisms, helps us, the audience, fall in love with the real star of the film. The adventures and encounters that Duma and Xan have along the way to their eventual destination contain more heart, more subtle nuances and a greater sense of discovery than any family film released so far this year. If you can get through the opening few scenes without your heart melting then you are truly made of stone. Recommended.


This movie is yet another excellent entry in the "One Parent Dies/Child Makes Sense of It Through Animal" portfolio of Carol Ballard. And, along with "Fly Away Home" and "The Black Stallion", his direction is first-class and very evocative. This is a great family film which, for some reason, despite two releases into theaters, never caught on. The story and the actors are great but most of all I admire Ballard as an overlooked genius behind the camera, even when reworking the same emotional ground (albeit in different countries). I always look forward to the relatively few movies he makes with great anticipation. There is some mention here of the political view of the film but I think that is addressed on a very universal level yet, at the same time, very personal level of the two main protagonists. That accounts for much of the movie's magic.


First, it never opened here. No surprise. Albuquerque has only one theater that would show an independent movie of this quality, and for some reason, this one never got here. My other disappointment with the DVD was that there is no bonus material. I would love to see how this movie was made. As far as the movie itself, it's excellent. Both Xan and Rip are compelling characters, and Duma, the cheetah himself, is incredible. You can feel the heat of the African desert, the cinematography is done so well. The soundtrack is perfect; I'm hoping it's available somewhere. It's too bad the studio heads who make these decisions aren't bright enough to see what an incredible movie this is; if they were, they might have given this movie the commercial push it deserved. Still, it might do well on DVD; I know we're going to buy it.


We have 4 children between 5 and 11 and it is difficult to find a movie that we all enjoy. Duma did the tick and we spent a wonderful evening together.

The characters are deep enough to make them credible and stimulating some thoughts: is Ripkuna good or bad? why does the buy run away from him? why does the boy fight with his mother?

It has beautiful images, a great story, leaves a strong message (growing, changing and leaving is part of life)...in short a wonderful movie.

I am surprised that I had not heard of it at all before "stumbling" into it at the local DVD rental shop.


Amazing. A great movie for any nature lover and otherwise too! Well-made and a movie which portrays love and concern for an orphaned cheetah cub. Inspirational and a true delight. Hardly any movies are made in this genre but this one is probably among the top there. I guess everybody will enjoy this movie and I recommend it. A story of how a young boy develops love and friendship for an orphaned cheetah cub and how those two qualities are reciprocated by the cheetah today. A great adventure story. Good performance by the actors here; Xan was awesome. A nice and well-made movie for which the team of this film deserves accolades.


Carroll Ballard (of Black Stallion fame) seems to reach full potency with stories detailing human / animal relationships. "Duma" is visually rich film that details a boys journey into adulthood as he attempts to bring a cheetah back to his original habitat. While certainly the more picayune viewer may sit and find holes in the plot line, the film is a nice experience that illustrates both the beauty of Africa and the warmth of a relationship that can exist between man and wild animal. There are several moments of peril that may scare the youngest of viewers, but this is a fine movie to share with the whole family. Nicely shot and the lead acquits himself well with the storyline. It is never easy to shoot with children or animals, and this movie does well with both. Only the jaded will not enjoy this movie.


I was surprised how powerful DUMA was - I remember all the good reviews it got when the W.Brothers butchered it's release, basically giving up on it and hardly putting it in any theatres because they did not believe in it and THEN it got some real raves and by then, it was too late. I'm glad to see that it is doing strong business as a DVD. The director is a veteran of well made "nature" films - BLACK STALLION, NEVER CRY WOLF and FLY AWAY HOME are all well made films where humans and nature try and get along. He does a marvelous job with this story as well. My children, ages 6 and 11, loved the adventure aspect of the boy trying to take his cheetah back into the wild. The acting is excellent (nice to see Hope Davis and Campbell Scott lend their talents to such a project) but the truly great performance is by Eammon Walker who plays Rip - a mysterious stranger the boy meets once stranded out in the wild. Walker plays a truly dimensional man and brings such honesty and subtlety to the character. The film is smart and emotional and beautiful. I hate that we live in a culture where bad remakes like The Longest Yard can rake in millions upon millions and yet a beautifully made film like this can't even get a wide release. It's a Catch 22 nowadays - so many people complain about the crap coming out of Hollywood - where are the quality family films and then here comes DUMA and no one hardly sees it. Do your family a favor and rent DUMA - it's overall message of how precious life and love is is something to savor.
Lonesome Orange Kid

Lonesome Orange Kid

'Duma' is a poignant tale of a young South African lad's devotion to his pet cheetah and that can easily be enjoyed by both adults and young children alike. It doesn't pander to infants in the audience, relying on good story-telling, engaging character interaction and beautiful scenery to set the scene for a thoroughly delightful film.

In this film, we follow the adventures of twelve-year-old Xan, a child raised on a small farm in remote South Africa and whose best friend is Duma, a cheetah he found as a tiny cub. Life is good for boy and cheetah until Xan's father takes ill then dies, forcing him and his mother to relocate to the city in a move that would condemn Duma to an animal reserve. However, Xan is determined to follow his father's plans to return Duma to the wild and embarks on a journey across the planes of South Africa with his beloved cheetah by his side. Along the way, he befriends mysterious, and possibly treacherous, drifter Rip and Mashaka the bush baby.

Alexander Michaeletos, who played Xan, is a very natural young actor and captures the heart of his character depicting the boy's unflinching love for Duma as well as his underlying pain at the loss of his beloved father. Eamonn Walker also delivers a great performance as gruff Rip, leaving you wondering about his motives in regards to Xan and Duma until he finally shows his true colours. And, of course, the animals themselves deserve much credit! Mashaka the bush baby was just adorable as was the big-hearted Duma, who really seemed to have a bond with young Michaeletos. I also loved how they included Duma's sound effects, bringing home just how cheetahs are like over-grown house cats with the way he mewed and purred away.

The wonderful thing about 'Duma' is there is nothing cutesy or pretentious about it and that is refreshing. It doesn't rely on silly jokes or overly-precocious kids to sell its story. It is just an endearingly honest film about how friendship can transcend species and one boy's journey both across Africa and across the bridge between childhood and adulthood. Highly recommended for animal lovers who want something a bit different from Hollywood kiddie flicks.


I have to admit I watched this family film solely based on Roger Ebert's enthusiastic thumbs-up, and I'm glad I did. It made me immediately recall a film from my childhood, Alexander Mackendrick's 1963 "A Boy Ten Feet Tall" about a boy who travels the length of the African continent by himself after his parents are killed. The more obvious inspiration, however, is James Hill's 1966 "Born Free" about a lioness that needs to be returned to the wild. The fact that this 2005 film is directed by Carroll Ballard, who made the remarkable 1979 film, "The Black Stallion", ensures a level of craftsmanship rare in films these days. Thanks mainly to the sumptuous cinematography by Werner Maritz, this is a panoramic nature film of the highest order.

The plot itself is small as befitting a family film. Based on a true story, it focuses on twelve year-old Xan, who has raised a cheetah named Duma on his family's South African farm since both were cubs. A tragedy forces Xan to take Duma out to the wild, where it belongs, without telling his mother. He makes it on a motorcycle to the middle of the Kalahari Desert where he runs out of gas and meets a suspicious wanderer named Ripkuna. Their adventures together make up the best parts of the film after a too-lengthy set-up in South Africa. There are impressive scenes highlighting the rapport between Xan and Duma, and Ballard sets up some highly creative action sequences around the motorcycle's conversion into a wind-surfing vehicle, a collapsing mine tunnel, an overwhelming tsetse fly attack and a hair-raising whitewater raft trip amid hungry crocodiles. It is the realism of these scenes that makes the film resonate more than a standard animal film.

The acting is not the chief attraction here. However, Alexander Michaletos, who was apparently raised on a farm among cheetahs, plays Xan with natural élan, and Eamonn Kelly brings the requisite mystery to Ripkuna. Sporting British accents, indie favorites Campbell Scott and Hope Davis have little more than cameos as Xan's parents. The 2006 DVD is light on extras - no commentary or making-of featurette (which could have been fascinating in this case); just the trailer and a couple of extended scenes are included. Still, this is a fine film to appreciate Ballard's too-rarely-seen cinematic artistry in conveying the delicate balance between humans and animals.


This movie is a family movie. No swearing, gratuitous violence or blood, guts and gore.

I gave this movie a 10 out of 10. But I am biased, I love animal movies and especially movies about cats.

The connection/love relationship between humans and cats is indescribable.

Sure Xan has a 'sad face' during most of this movie. You would too if you had just lost your Dad at age 12. I would say he was totally 'in character'.

If you or I had raised a kitten from birth and had to let it go because it was born wild, I think that we would be a little sad about it too.


Duma was one of the real sleepers of 2005, full of gorgeous scenery, good acting and a sweet story. Eamonn Walker as Ripkuna is exceptional as the Savannah smart man of the plains and Alexander Michaeletos as the boy on a quest is exceptional for his young age. The story may seem fairly pat but the execution of the plot is done with style and depth of emotion pretty rare in "animal" movies. However, this story transcends cheetah cuteness and extends to a boy's rite of passage quite literally. Duma is noble, adorable and talented which gives the movie a handsome centerpiece. The scene when Duma is reunited is one of the most touching in film history. Not sappy but full of courage and real love.


Sometimes you just have to watch a bad movie to get a good movie experience.

The bad movie piece of this should be obvious: its values are those of TeeVee afterschool "entertainment," that product that we think is suitable for kids: moralistic, simple and touching on how a child should value its parent.

The speech at the end is particularly offensive; "I showed him the way home, but he showed me the same thing...." It was clearly written by someone otherwise not involved in the project and even sounds like another child's voice. And along the way in the movie we have to suffer all sorts of clichéd situations, including one improbable escape after another. Par for the course.

But I'll ask you to sit through it because the fellow putting things on the shelf is Carroll Ballard. Filmmakers with open reach and cinematic skills are pretty rare. Since a life in film is a matter of trust in people, artists, I'll recommend Ballard to you.

He's always gets wrapped in syrupy junk, more recently now. He made "Wind," which really was a gas visually, elements of which have been copied in "big" movies. He copies a sequence from that here where a motorcycle is rigged with a sail to blow across the desert. Even now, there are elements that are fresh, even with the actors we have to work with.

He also made "Fly Away Home" which will be forgotten as a real advance in introducing three dimensional sweep to the camera vocabulary. We don't notice it now because animated films adopted and extended the idea so quickly. But in "Fly" it was done with a real kid, a real lightweight plane and real geese.

I have no idea how he gets these animals to do what he wants, but I assume it is difficult. The cat here has an engaging face which he exploits, but even though the sponsors probably wanted more humanization of the animal — like in the execrable "March of the Penguins," he never allows the camera to cross that line.

Yes, you have to put up with a fake sentimentality, something that has come to stand for religion even. But the vision here is worth the annoyance. I wish this were cast more in the clothing of "Walkabout," something with grander aspirations.

Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.