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Durban Film Festival


From Palestine to Africa

Day 4 and it had two distinct themes - the Palestinian/Israeli issue and Africa in all its glory.
Things sometime happen to me that seem too coincidental. I was traveling by Peoplemover to see two films about Palestine and then suddenly noticed the Durban Holocaust Centre. I've been trying to find it for years and then it just pops up. Maybe it was a sign...
5 Broken Cameras is an intensely personal documentary made by a resident of Bil'in called Emad Burnat , who started filming his life, the intifada and how they connect. He started filming when his little boy Gibreel was born. It is such an eye-opener to see this boy growing up with all this surrrounding him. As a photojournalist I could relate to his struggle to consistently replace his cameras when they were either shot at or destroyed by either the army or settlers. He refers to his cameras as living beings and says the camera saw a certain timespan. He also said the camera saved his life when an Israeli bullet was still stuck in it. This doccie did so well at Tribeca and is worth seeing. I give it a ten for its bravery.
Roadmap to Apartheid draws similarities between Apartheid in SA and the present situation in Palestine. This highly controversial and shocking doccie has been met with serious resistance by the Jewish community. As such, I take my hat off to DIFF for not flinching and I think that is what a filmfest should be. Personally I think the doccie's conclusion that Apartheid was a picnic in the park compared to how the Palestinians are treated is too one-sided but agree that people can live together as SA has the recipe. I
give it an 8.
Africa night consisted of three movies, On the edge shows women doing it for themselves in Morocco. I'm all for people shaping their own future by practicing the oldest profession in a conservative environment. I don't like them robbing their clients though. I give it a 7 and you can still catch it at Musgrave on 27 July.
The Wavescapes Film Festival, a festival within a festival, kicked off last night and I saw The Africa Project. It can be described as a Lonely Planet travelogue to surf spots on the continent. I loved the visuals and you would love it even more if you form part of this subculture. There is another screening at Musgrave on 25 July. I give it an 8.
My eyes were hurting when my fifth film of the day kicked off. Next year three-a-day would be my limit.
The African Cypher is an intense and pulsating look at township dance and how it has gone mainstream. A thrilling soundtrack combined with great photography and use of slow-motion make this a must see. The filmmaker spent so much time with the dancers and this is their story. It won Encounters and will win you over at 120bpm. I give it a 9.
The film has 3 more screenings - Ekhaya on 24 July and at Luthuli and Blue on 25 July.
My final day at DIFF will include Semisweet: life in chocolate, This is not a film that was smuggled out of Iran on a flash drive and Nairobi Half Life, a film in competition about an actor who is drawn into a world of crime..
Go to sleep my tired eyes.



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