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Durban Film Festival


The sex issue

One of the themes at this year's DIFF is sexual identities and it certainly has stirred up a lot of interest.
The day  will be remembered for two reasons: seeing three sex films (sexual identities sounds too sterile) and the technical problems at Musgrave Centre with films getting cancelled and the festival's reputation on the line.
The day had the feeling of a G&L filmfest as I saw I am Divine and Interior. Leather Bar, James Franco's weird but steaming ode to homosexuality. He tried to recreate missing scenes from a 70s film called Cruising. I didn't anticipate  the hardcore sex, but I guess I had to expect it as the gays in the s & m scene in NY of the 70s did not have tea parties! 
No, Franco unfortunately does not get into the action - he's like a pornographer calling the shots (so to speak). More screenings of this Francoesque - not to be confused with anything French - masterpiece will be on 25 July at Suncoast and on 28 July at Musgrave.
I am Divine is a revealing doccie about the one and only actor to ever eat dog shit on screen!  I don't think anybody will ever do it again so that accolade will stay with him. The highlight of the film for me is the fact that throwing up while watching the 
canine scene is seen as a standing ovation! Divine was so over the top he makes RuPaul seem like a Sunday school teacher and it was captured beautifully. Catch I am Divine at Blue on 21 and 26 July. 
The highlight of my day was African Gothic, part of the African Focus. This world premiere is a surreal masterpiece and essentially a love story, based on incest! I call it a sex film, although incest is still so shocking and taboo. I spoke to the director, Gabriel 
Bologna, who said they want to release the film to a wider audience. I doubt that will ever happen as the subject is very hard to sell. The film shows a brother and sister living together after the death of their parents. They capture and get rid of anyone who wants to destroy their dysfunctional world where they only have each other.
The film contains vivid sex and terrifying violence. But don't let that frighten you - the film needs to be seen for its great performances. It will be screened again at Ekhaya on 24 July and Suncoast on 25 July.
The unfortunate and embarrassing technical difficulties caused havoc yesterday. I don't know who is at fault but the cinemas used at the centre were diverted to digital only last week and now some of the films cannot be shown. It sounds like a serious lack of 
communication and it has never happened since I've been coming to DIFF.
I planned to see Wrong and Spring Breakers yesterday and both were cancelled. The screening of Monsoon Shooutout was cancelled as the film wasn't even in the country!. I hope the problem is sorted out soon as I planned to watch 3 films at the centre on Sunday - Berberian Sound Studio (a horror film experienced only through sound), the muchanticipated drug and sex filled thriller Durban Poison and Halley (one of the zombie films).
PS No sign of the morality police.


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