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Durban International Film Festival offers world cinema in South Africa

The human element

Day 3 of my Durban trip kicked off with a fire! As I walked out of my apartment block, I thought it was raining, just to see firemen, firetrucks, lots of bystanders and police as the building across the road was on fire. The journalist in me found it hard to just walk away, but I did just that although I couldn't resist to take some pictures. Everywhere I went during the day, I was asked whether I'm going to the Durban July on Saturday. The July is one of the world's top horse racing events. My answer must have come as a shock  - I'm going to the movies! The human element of a film festival became very clear at night as the schedule was changed and one of the filmmakers didnt turn up. The director of The girl with the dragon tattoo decided he should rather be with his family. The film was shown to a packed house and this Swedish thriller is spellbounding. I'm crinching at the thought of what the Americans will do to it in the remake. It was fantasticto see so many people turning up to see a Swedish film and Nashen Moodley, festival manager, told me how happy he is with his 10th festival that he has been involved with. Peepli Live was not shown as the director took his film and went back home! It has something to do with piracy. The gem of the day was Lola by Brilliante Mendoza. This Filipino director has a way to make his films work although it tells such a simple story, uses no stars and no effects. Lola tells a story of two grandmothers who face off after one's grandson killed anothers. It is beautifully filmed, mostly with a handheld camera. I interviewed Mendoza during a trip to Diff before and he has since won Cannes. Day 4 promises Wild Grass from France, The Infidel, Street Days from Georgia and the closing ceremony.

Signing off