The 37th edition of the Durban International Film
Festival, hosted from June 16-26, recently wrapped up ten days of screening a range of exciting films and documentaries, introducing a wide
range of homegrown and international works and stories to local audiences. This list consists of several films shown at DIFF2016 centered around narratives that relate to realities on the African
place in 2014, marking two decades since the end of apartheid and the changing
of South Africa’s political system, The Journeymen documentary follows three young South
African photographers from different walks of life as they travel 24,000km
through the country in a motorhome, capturing the nation’s “promising,
contentious and confusing present-day democracy”.
footage using Go Pros strapped to their chests, Sipho Mpongo,
who interviewed about his participation in this project, accompanied by fellow
photographers Wikus de Wet, and Sean Metelerkamp, from contrasting cultural and
racial backgrounds – Xhosa, Afrikaans and English respectively, find themselves
learning about the country they call home and even more about themselves as
young South Africans. The film served as the festival’s opening film on June
16th, marking Youth Day in the country.
Nawara lives between two worlds – her world spent in her poverty-stricken neighborhood, and a life spent working in and admiring the lives of Cairo’s more privileged. In Hala Khalil’s thrilling drama, the seedy underbelly of class and power, and the unkept promises of the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, are brought to light through Nawara’s misery and problem filled life.
After hawker Soloman Kalushi Mahlangu has a run in with police that leaves him badly beaten, rattled and enraged by the brutality he suffered, Soloman makes his way from his home in Mamelodi to the outskirts of nearby Angola where he and his friend and comrade Mondy undergo military training with the anti-apartheid liberation movement there. Back in South Africa, more trouble finds the two men as Mondy commits murder and both face charges of double homicide. Tried in an unforgiving apartheid court, Kalushi focuses on the stifling injustices of South Africa’s racial past.
Death is often seen as a form of passage from
this life to the next, a journey from the old to the new. However, for medical
student Iddrisu, the death of his father sends him back to his ‘old’
world, the past he sought to leave behind as he embarked on a new life in
bustling Kumasi. Back home for the burial, Iddrisu is forced to deal with the
clashes of his two lives in which serious sacrifices and responsibilities must
at several film festivals, and with a number of awards under its belt, Egyptian
filmmaker Mahmood Soliman’s We Have Never Been Kids is both a personal and political reflection of
life in Cairo over the past decade. A follow-up to his 2003 documentary Living Among Us, the film is a view into the city through the
life of Nadia and her family.
Mudzingwa Lost Tongue is the story of Helena Steenkamp, a Khomani San woman from
the Kalahari, and her mission to revive and preserve her people’s endangered
N!uu language, and the challenges and confrontations with history and the
present whilst on her quest.
If Farrah is sure of one thing, it is that she wants to sing. More specifically, Farrah wants to be a singer in a band. However, as she indulges in a lifestyle that exposes her to the dangers of living out her own personal revolution, many things become uncertain for Farrah as delicate things begin to unfold all around her. Representing the lost hopes of the post-Jasmine Revolution youth, Farrah falls somewhere between a rebel with a cause and a carefree young woman caught between greater conflicts of idealism and resistance.
Through the friendship of four women who happen to be sex workers, French-Moroccan filmmaker Nabil Ayouch’s feature film Much Loved casts a harsh but necessary light on the country’s illicit sex trade that contradicts the country’s conservative politics and values.
With The Unseen, filmmaker Perivi Katjavivi’s poetic
portrayals of three individuals’ existential crises whilst living in Namibia
serve as a window into struggles relating to history, culture, identity,
depression, and other ‘unseen’ and unspoken “emotional and physical
realities of post-colonial Namibia”.
Five years after hosting the first FIFA World
Cup on the African continent, and with this year marking Brazil’s turn at
hosting, both South Africa and the global governing body of the world’s most
popular sport were put into the spotlight again, this time for reasons relating
to the criminal and unethical misconduct of the two in the assigning and
handling of the tournament.
Beyond the tournament itself, the direct and
side effects of crime and corruption unfold in this poignant documentary as
filmmaker Craig Tanner uses the South African-hosted 2010 FIFA World Cup, as
well as the preparations for the upcoming World Cup in Brazil, to reveal the
negative impacts of this highly profitable tournament.