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Durban Film Festival


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A whole new world at DIFF

Film allows you to see the world without leaving your seat.
My third day at DIFF took me from Lisbon to a farm in Africa, the Deep South, the Philippines and Paris. Dark clouds rolled into Durban yesterday, but the sun always shines at the movies (thank you A-Ha).
My first film was the wonderful black and white Portuguese film, Tabu. The competition film is filled with nostalgia. It is set in modern-day Lisbon and in 1930s colonial Africa.
It is a wonderful love story reminiscent of Out of Africa and well worth seeing. The international jury were also present, but they aren't allowed to say what they liked or not. I give Tabu an 8 and it has another screening at Musgrave on 28 July. Can you give a film a higher score than ten? Beasts of the southern wild is probably the most original and astonishing film I've ever seen. Up to now that honour went to Waltz with Bashir. Quvenzhane Wallis as Hushpuppy must be the most grown-up performance by a six-year-old in history and one of the top performances this year. She is left to her own devices with her mother long gone and wild man father getting sick - and then Katrina strikes. Technically it is a rollercoaster ride of hand-held cameras, brilliant lighting and southern music. It won prizes at Sundance and Cannes and it blew me away. It has 2 more screenings at Suncoast - 27 and 29 July.
Captive by Brilliante Mendoza tells the harrowing true events of the Abu Sayyaf's kidnapping of tourists in 2001. It is a scary, fast moving film in Mendoza's documentary style of hand-held cameras. The film stars some of his regular stars who are only known in his home country, but this time French star Isabelle Huppert can be seen too. He doesn't take sides in the conflict and mainly focuses on the tortuous life of the hostages.
This film is violent and the religious fundamentalism disturbing. I give it a 9 and the film has another screening at Suncoast on 28 July.
I closed my day with Palm d'Or winner Amour. This screening opened the French Focus. Michael Haneke's deeply intense portrayal of an elderly couple facing the terrifying questions of life and death is just superb. The film tells a story of Georges and Anne, both retired music teachers in their eighties. Then Anne has a stroke and Georges has to take care of her. The performances by the main actors are astounding. Huppert can be
seen as their daughter. It brought me to tears as I went through something similar with my father when he couldn't walk anymore and we had to take care of him. It is another 10 and another film that should have a life at Nouveau. There is just one more screening - at Suncoast on 29 July.
Day 4 is varied with two documentaries about the Palestinian issue, 5 Broken Cameras and Roadmap to Apartheid. Then I'll be traveling to Morocco in On the edge, through Africa in the Africa Project, a surfer film, and end the day on the streets of SA in the dance film, The African Cypher.

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