Beyond the Light Barrier reviewBEYOND THE LIGHT BARRIER. Written, produced, and directed by Uga Carlini. Narration by Dr. John Kani. Cinematographer: Georgia Court. With music by Charl-Johan Lingenfelder, animation directed by Inka Kendzia and Illustrations by Carment Ziervogel. Amazon Prime.


Watching Uga Carlini’s documentary Beyond the Light Barrier is one very freaky sensation. It is a documentary. But it isn’t like any other documentary. Firstly, it is about Elizabeth Klarer, who is the strangest and most unreliable subject for a fact film. Secondly, Uga and her team have given this movie a style makeover, from fifties UFO sounds to amazing animation, big comic like titles and illustrations, and John Kani’s strange narration. And that is before the really, really weird collection of people who are interviewed, in weirder still KZN, with old footage of Elisabeth Klarer herself and her totally kooky, zany commitment to having been seduced by a man(ish) from another planet, being taken to said planet, and conceiving and giving birth to his child.

From the very first moment of the film, even before the glorious comic book sound effects and animated visuals there is John Kani, bathed in speckled, alien blue light.

Next, we are watching actual footage of Elisabeth Klarer filmed in Johannesburg in 1991. Her singsong, fey and very Natal sounding voice, her floaty scarf and watery eyes, are a clue to what is to come.

Relationship with an alien

Old footage, John Kani’s gorgeous voice overs, and seriously strange interviews follow. Elisabeth’s nephew in Howick, who clearly adored his aunt, Stella, Elisabeth’s nurse who attended her on her death bed, and heard details of her abduction and relationship with an alien.

There are neighbours, family, police, professors, playwrights, friends. There are interviews with the late Credo Vusamazulu Mutwa. There is the hill where Elisabeth’s alien suitor first appeared. There is the footage of the strange UFO sighting at a school in Zimbabwe in the 90’s. And that’s not even the half of it.

I loved this film. I was fascinated, hooked, embarrassed, amused, and shocked. Turns out Elisabeth Klarer was not the lovely lady she presented. There is a dark, racist underbelly to her story. And it is John Kani who gets to articulate this.

Somehow Uga has managed to take a truly bizarre story and go to the heart of it, socially, politically and even mythologically. Sceptics, academics, esoterics and Huisgenoot readers will all find something fascinating about Beyond the Light Barrier. Released earlier this year, the film has already garnered a few international awards. It is now available on Amazon Prime.

What: Beyond the Light Barrier

Where: Amazon Prime