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Durban Film Festival


Out and proud or not?

Gender and sexuality is one of the official themes at DIFF.
I saw three films today and a little-known surfer documentary stole the show. Out in the 
line up is the story of how gay surfers struggle to fit in in one of the most macho sports. It 
is polished, beautifully filmed, straight forward without offending and even funny. It is a 
pity the doccie was only screened once as a wider audience should see it. I talked to some 
of the surfers who watched it after the screening and some were a little stunned as they 
don't know any gay surfers. I think the gays are just too scared to come out! A film like 
this can break down barriers. 
I saw the film with Jason Fiddler, director of the Durban G&L Film Festival and he also 
applauded after the film.
A special feature at DIFF is where a filmmaker presents five films that made him. Khalo 
Matabane presented the classic 1986 film The decline of the American empire. It is still 
so relevant with its portrayal of intelligentsia as perverts. I was shocked to hear how they 
make STI's out to be just as common as the flu! Films that made me would be Breaking 
the waves, Torch song trilogy, Amadeus, Staying Alive, the Kieslowski trilogy and all 
the films by Eytan Fox!
I closed the day with Salvation Army, a film about gay culture in Morocco. The film 
follows the life of a teenager in Casablanca who lives a double life and who is willing to 
do everything to get out of his surroundings. I have seen that in countless films and was 
very disappointed. The film has its moments, but could have been so much more. It has 
another screening on 27 July.
* Day 6 and my final day has four films in store - Cairo drive, Amazonia, Lilting and 
then the cherry on top, Only lovers left alive. Bring it on!

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