dvd / blu-ray Review

Vir Altyd (DVD): Review


The story of childhood friends Nina (DonnaLee Roberts) and Hugo (Ivan Botha). The two have chosen different paths in life, and have been apart for several years. Now, Hugo returns home, and this visit coincides with a disaster at Nina’s wedding. She is left at the alter. With the help of copious amounts of alcohol, the two end up in Mauritius. Here they each face their own short-comings, as the help each other through some personal struggles.

Things however are not as simple, as the days go by, they look at what could have been between them, and whether this is a future together.

Shot on location in Mauritius, Vir Altyd is a checklist of activities to enjoy on the holiday island. As for the story, it is a very straight forward one. Boy meets girl, they part, and years later begin to realise that they might have been meant for each other all along, were it not for a few obstacles standing in their way, namely family, convention, and pressure from others.

On the island, the couple meet two other couples, completing the round up of a few relationship types. There’s Nina and Hugo, who are struggling with the choice laid before them, needing to decide if they should be together.

The other couples have their own issues, with one couple merely going through the motions of a relationship, and needing to actually notice each other, and the other couple now in the waning years of their lives, very much in love and hoping to eke out the last bit of time they have left, and spend it wisely.

Vir Altyd puts forward a few scenarios for relationships, but doesn’t pose too many questions, putting it more in the category of films that we are used to here in South Africa, rather than pushing the envelope a bit, and trying to be different. Perhaps a tried and tested formula, with a large in-built audience, but it is just that audience that will seek out such a story so there are not too many other who might venture a viewing.

A well written story, but one we’ve seen all too often. Vir Altyd is one of those, much like in a relationship, you will either love or hate.


Vir Altyd is available now, to purchase on disc, in South Africa.


Video is encoded at a high average bitrate, with no visible artefacts on screen. Users with the relevant hardware or software can scale up to larger or higher resolution screens.

While the image is stable, some scenes do feel as if the colour should have been a bit more vibrant. This does not detract from the story though.


The soundtrack is presented in a 5.1 and 2.0 mix, with the option of English subtitles. The default for the subtitles is on, but these can be disable via the disc menu system, or the relevant player.

Audio is encoded at a high bitrate, and while there is a surround track, the subject matter does not lend itself to much use of the surrounds.


The disc menu system is very basic, with an almost static background image on the first menu screen. Here you get to choose between an English or Afrikaans menu system. The image does slowly zoom, leaving a sudden jump as the video clip repeats, but this is not too big a deal.

The menu is easy to navigate, however the choice of text colour on a busy background with the same colours might pose a slight problem to some users.


There are a few bonus features on the disc, which starts with several adverts and some previews at the beginning of the disc. Unfortunately you can not skip these adverts. The previews can be skipped.

While it is understandable that there would be adverts for those who have likely supported the making of the film, it does become a slight irritation on consequent viewings of the film, having to sit through a bunch of these time and again.

Other features, accessible via the menu system include:

Theatrical Trailer: A short trailer for the film.

The Story Behind The Story: A short introduction to how the story came to be, by Ivan Botha and Donnalee Roberts, how they spoke to others about their weddings, and how the researched the story, as well as how they work as a writing team.

A very brief bit of insight, and look behind the scenes.

Character Introduction: Two clips with an introduction by Oom Paul and Tannie Betsie in one, and Ben and Marietjie in another.

These too are very short, serving more entertainment value than actual behind the scenes looks, giving a bit more background on the characters stories and lives, rather than the filmmaking process.


By Andrew Germishuys

Founder of SAMDB, Andrew has worked full time in the film industry since the early 2000's. He has trained as an actor, completing his LAMDA Gold Medal, and attending many courses in Cape Town acting studios, with masterclasses with some of the international industries top directors, producers and filmmakers.

Working as an actor and armourer in the film and television industry have given Andrew a great balance of skills across the board when it comes to the entertainment industry.

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