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Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival


The Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLIFF) reels out over 200 films from around the globe. Filmmakers and celebrities attend many of the screenings and events during the festival. Parties and gatherings at area "hot spots", on board yachts, and on the beach will provide audiences an opportunity to hob knob with film talent and other movie buffs.

 

 


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A Celebration of South African Culture

Monday, October 23----A celebration of African dance and film will be the high point on today’s agenda, as the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival moves into its second week of film discoveries and excitement.

The Festival will screen the Sundance Film Festival hit SON OF MAN this evening at 8:00pm at the Cinema Paradiso. The special screening tribute to South African film will be preceded by an African Dance performance by the Le Jump Afrique dance troupe. The troupe includes members of the Movement Theoree Dance Collective, a unique, multiethnic dance company comprised of both students and faculty from Nova Southeastern University and community members. Their mission is to merge movement and life, engaging and involving the audience in the process. The movement ranges from modern and ballet, to African and hip-hop.

SON OF MAN had its international premiere in the World Cinema section of the Sundance Film Festival. The film chronicles the life of Jesus, told in modern-day South African terms. It is a film version of a stage presentation originally conceived by the Dimpho Di Kopane theater company in Capetown, South Africa. The film is directed by the theater’s Artistic Director Mark Dornford-May, but it is, in fact, an improvisational collaboration of the Dimpho Di Kopane Theater company. The director and his theater troupe also created the international arthouse hit U-CARMEN (2005), a version of Bizet’s opera sung entirely in the Khosa language, that swept the top awards at last year’s Berlin Film Festival.

Director Mark Dornford-May and actress Thandiwe Mesele

SON OF MAN is the story of Jesus, told in episodes from the New Testament, but set in present-day Africa. This is a Jesus (Andile Kosi) who speaks the same words as he did in the Gospels, sending an unmistakable message: if he was alive today, he would be singled out as a revolutionary and a danger to the political and social status quo.

The film has relatively little spoken dialogue, but a great deal of joyous South African music that combines great technical skill with great heart. Some of the best moments belong to a chorus, singing the praises of the lord. Another standout is opera-trained actress Pauline Malefane, who plays Mary, whose solo song of celebration after being told that she will be the mother of Chris, is the film’s emotional high point. Malefane won acclaim for her role as Carmen in the U-CARMEN film.

There have been some updated touches worth noting in the re-telling of the well known story. The angels who inform Mary of her destiny as the mother of the Messiah are small African boys and Jesus’s disciples include a few women along with men. Instead of Judea, Jesus and his followers travel through the townships of Cape Town, as he preaches a message of non-violence, social equality and a call to dismantle the system of oppression. Judas spies on Jesus with a video camera.

An Angel in SON OF MAN

Despite these modern interpretations, the film’s source of strength is its currency in contemporary terms…..that the underdogs of the world still suffer under the greed and lust for power of a small percentage, and that the ultimate message of Christianity is one that can be empowering for the have-nots who strive for a better world and a better life.

The film will be followed by a free Wine Tasting of South African wines to be held at the 7th Street Wine Company, located just seconds away from the Cinema Paradiso at S.E. 7th Street and Federal Highway. All in all, a terrific opportunity to celebrate South African culture and cuisine.


Sandy Mandelberger
Festivals Editor

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About Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival

Mandelberger Sandy
(International Media Resources)


Online Dailies for the 24th edition of the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival , October 23 - November 11, 2009


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