Invigorate your mind

2010-10-09 00:00

THE best South African, African and international films take centre stage at the 2010 Tri Continental Film Festival, which runs from October 15 to 21 at Cinema Nouveau Gateway in Umhlanga.

This year’s festival covers everything from sociopolitical debates to religious and social sub-cultures, environmental issues and the theme of identity.

Among the South African films worth seeing is Here Be Dragons, which looks at the life of George Bizos, the international human rights icon who helped save Nelson Mandela from the gallows, and for handling more human­rights cases than any other lawyer in South Africa.

Another noteworthy South African film is The Battle of Johannesburg, which chronicles the World Cup journey and asks tough questions, such as does urban development have to mean gentrification and is it possible to create a world-class city for all?

More political debate can be found in Mugabe and the White African (Zimbabwe), directed by Lucy Bailey, which tells how in 2008 Michael Campbell, one of the few hundred white farmers left in Zimbabwe, challenged president Robert Mugabe in an international court, accusing him and his government of racial discrimination and violations­ of basic human rights.

Crime comes under the spotlight in the South African film, A Small Town Called Descent, directed by Jamil XT Qubeka. It tells the story of how two Zimbabwean brothers, Charles and Lovemore Mtawarira, and a local Xhosa­ girl, Nandipha, are attacked by a faceless gang, seemingly hellbent on perpetuating xenophobic hatred. But when three detectives from the Scorpions­ investigating unit are deployed to the small town of Descent to get to the bottom of the atrocity, they soon learn that nothing is what it seems.

Among the documentaries on offer is Good Fortune (Kenya), which explores how massive international efforts to alleviate poverty in Africa may be undermining the very communities they aim to benefit.

Bastardy (Australia) is an inspirational story of a self-proclaimed Robin Hood of the streets and Surfing Soweto (South Africa), is a documentary charting the lives of three of the most notorious train surfers in Soweto.

• Tickets for the film festival can be booked through Ticketline at 082 16789, online at www.sterkine kor.com or at the cinema box office.

Other films

 

• Afrikaaps (SA): Director Dylan Valley explores the untold Creole history of Afrikaans, using hip-hop, humour and a personal perspective.

 

• Citizen X (SA): Tired of waiting for the state to make good on liberation promises and facing deepening poverty, communities across South Africa have taken to the streets with increasing volatility since the early 2000s. This film asks some difficult questions of both the movements and the state they are up against.

 

• Cradock 4 (SA): On June 27, 1985, apartheid security forces abducted four activists on a lonely mountain pass and murdered them. Matthew Goniwe and his three comrades became known as The Cradock Four. David Forbes’s film explores who they were and the circumstances that led to their death.

 

• Forgotten Gold (SA): Makela Pululu’s film tells the uplifting story of one of Africa’s legendary footballers, Ndaye Mulamba, who scored nine goals in the 1974 African Cup of Nations tournament for the Leopards of Zaire. In 1994, after a violent attack on his life and the killing of his son, he fled into exile in South Africa.

 

• Soweto Sneezed … and Then We Caught the Fever (SA): In 1976 thousands of schoolchildren marched to voice their anger and discontent at inferior black education, which compelled them to learn in Afrikaans. The Soweto riots quickly spread across the country. This documentary explores individual testimonies from the riots and political unrest in Cape Town in the eighties.

 

• White as Blood (SA): A white South African returns home after seven years in Sweden and asks what role his Afrikaner family played in the making of South Africa

 

• Sweet Crude (Nigeria): A fascinating story about oil politics, mass-media agendas and the role of independent journalists in exposing the truth.

 

• War Child (Sudan): Hip-hop artist Emmanuel Jal, a former child soldier in Sudan’s brutal civil war, is using his microphone to bring peace to his country.

 

• An Independent Mind (UK): How do you deal with the threat of imprisonment for drawing a cartoon of your president? How do you survive being sent to a labour camp for telling a joke? These are some of the issues raised in this documentary inspired by the Freedom of Expression.

 

• The Yes Men Fix the World (North America): A screwball true story that follows a couple of gonzo political activists as they infiltrate the world of big business and pull off outrageous pranks to highlight the ways that corporate greed is destroying the planet.

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