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Durban International Film Festival offers world cinema in South Africa

Day of acceptance

Day 2 kicked off with rain and wind and yesterday was sunny and hot. I am not sure which I prefer... The day promised a lot and I didn't realise that the 3 films that I was about to see all had the same basic theme - acceptance. I caught Coming out of the nkuta, a film from Cameroon, at the Royal Hotel and was stunned at how prejudiced the society in Cameroon is. Homosexuality is still banned with "culprits" going to jail for five years. Apparantly, this country is even worse than most African coutries and in Cameroon they go as far as to subject possible homosexuals to anal examination! This just made me realise how lucky I am to live in a free society where I have the right to be me and the state will protect me in my quest.  I spoke to Lindy Stiebel, one of the Amnesty jurors, after the screening and she told me how shocked she was to see all this transgression of human rights. She applauded the festival for its wide range of documentaries and also said South Africans do not realise how free their society is, until you get the perspective of seeing another culture. Thumbs up to Diff for bringing this to the people of KZN. I will give it an 8. I was gearing up for the evening's screenings and my allusive 10/10 was coming up. Amreeka, a pun on saying America very fast?, tells the tale of a Palestininian immigrant in the USA and the prejudice they have to face in their struggle for acceptance. I laughed out loud when the official at the airport asked for her occupation and she answered: yes, for the last 40 years! This heart-warning tale also scores an 8. I bumped into Nashen Moodley in the foyer before the screening of Life, above all and he was stunned when I told him I'm not going to see the film, but Brotherhood instead. I managed to have a quick chat with the director of Life, above all, Oliver Schmitz, who also made the acclaimed Mapantsula. Nothing could have prepared me for Brotherhood. This momentous film about homosexuality in the Danish neo-nazi movement is so shocking and real that it left me feeling sick with disgust. It has s strong resemblance to Brokeback Mountain, but Ang Lee's masterpiece doesn't have this climax - being discovered by your fellow neo-nazis and having your boyfriend, a neo-nazi officer, beating you up! This is one of the best films I have ever seen and I can see why it won the top prize at Rome. It is a 10! I felt so distraught after seeing Brotherhood that I decided not to see The Ape.  Day 2 was fantastic and Day 3 promises a magical highlight - Brilliante Mendoza's Lola. I wish we can have this every day.

Signing off