Indian Cinema at the 31st Durban International Film Festival
It’s that time of year again when film enthusiasts can satisfy their motion picture mania. The 31st Durban International Film Festival runs from the 22 July to 1 August promising eleven days of cinematic indulgence.
In the festival’s wide selection of films from around the world is a selection of thrilling, edgy, thought-provoking and downright funny films from India and the Indian diaspora.
Zooming in on political accountability, Peepli Live explores the realities of poverty-stricken farmers whose only way out is committing suicide so that their families may receive government compensation. This surprisingly hilarious film was produced by the legendary Indian actor Aamir Khan.
Durban filmmaker Masood Boomgard’s Attack of the Indian Werewolf is a cheerfully irreverent spoof of the horror genre starring East Coast Radio deejay and stand-up comedian Neville Pillay. Serious laughs are to be had.
At the other end of the spectrum, Jyoti Mistry comments on the commonalities of the human experience in various international urban spaces with her experimental feature, The Bull On The Roof (Le Beof Sur Le Toit).
Fans of the master Bengali filmmaker Buddhadeb Dasgupta will thoroughly enjoy his latest work screening at the festival, The Window (Janala), a magical and remarkably frank commentary on modern Indian life.
This year’s DIFF also brings a triumph for Marathi cinema with Umesh Vinayak Kulkarni’s The Well which is a tender look at the loss of the innocence of childhood. The film is produced by Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan, and the director Umesh Vinayak Kulkarni will attend the festival.
Alongside these fine feature-length films, the festival also celebrates topical Indian cinema through the short film medium. Homecoming explores the challenge in balancing modernity and traditional Indian values while The Floating Position sees a young man facing a dilemma between his caste identity and his high economic status.
Audience members will be spoilt for choice when it comes to Indian cinema at the 31st Durban International Film Festival with screenings at movie theatres and other public arenas throughout Durban.
Programme booklets with the full screening schedule and synopses of all the films are available free at cinemas, Computicket, and other outlets.
Eco-lens at DIFF 2010
Filmmakers are key agents in keeping a watchful eye on not just on social and political issues but on environmental abuse that often slips unobtrusively into our daily lives. A number of films at this year’s Durban International Film Festival conscientise us about the need for integrated approaches to development, and the threats to human ecology and environmental balance.
With genetic modification shifting global food production increasingly further from nature, Scientists Under Attack is an important exposure of the influence of big corporates in the active suppression of information and how scientists must put their careers on the line just to bring you the truth about what you consume.
Carlos Franciso‘s American Foulbrood looks at the crippling effects of a deadly disease on African honey bees and its possible impact on food production in South Africa.
When the water that comes out of your taps turns to flame you know something is wrong – the highly entertaining Sundance Jury Prize Winner Gasland explores the shocking consequences of massive natural gas drilling across the USA. Koundi and the National Thursday is an intimate look at life inside a small village in the forests of Cameroon and how this communal society is negotiating the demands of globalization and the search for uniquely African solutions.
Questions about urban development are raised in The Battle for Johannesburg and When The Mountain Meets Its Shadow. The feature film Altiplano is set against mercury poisoning of a community from a local factory.
Two films very much emphasise positive developments for our consideration.
In multi-award winning Waste Land we witness the creative production that results when art and poverty collide at the world’s largest rubbish dump in Brazil. The collaboration with catadores, who make a living picking recyclable materials, deals not only with important environmental and social issues, but restores dignity to a group of people tossed aside by society, like the garbage with which they work. The 4th Revolution: Energy Autonomy systematically and engagingly outlines the tantalising possibility of switching to 100% renewable energy sources in the next 30 years.
Such films provide a proactive approach to the challenges and indicate that another way is possible.
The Durban International Film Festival, which is principally funded by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF), takes place from 22nd July to 1st August. See www.cca.ukzn.ac.za for more information.
The Durban International Film Festival is organised by the Centre For Creative Arts (University of KwaZulu-Natal) with support by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (principal funder), National Film and Video Foundation, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development and Tourism, HIVOS, City Of Durban, German Embassy of South Africa, Goethe Institut South Africa, Industrial Development Corporation, Commonwealth Foundation, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Arts and Culture, and a range of other valued partners.
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