6 best at DIFF: Africa first

2014-07-13 15:00

Working my way eagerly through the programme for the Durban International Film Festival ahead of my annual visit to the land of warm beaches, darkened cinemas and bad snacky things at industry bashes, I am struck by the selection of African featurefilms on offer this year. They form the gem of a festival which, in its 35th year, is an institution.

In fact, African films dominate the official competition for the first time this year. South Africa may think it’s all that in the cinema world, but the rest of the continent is making more experimental and politically bold cinema in a fresher film language than we are.

It’s almost impossible to pick only six of the best. Bear in mind that my taste leans towards experiments and naughtiness, so here goes:

» Low on budget, high on imagination. Beti and Amare is a sci-fi-ish Ethiopian vampire film. It’s set in 1936 in an Africa disrupted by Mussolini’s World War 2 troops.


» Documentary and fiction blur in the visually stunning Bloody Beans. During the Algerian revolution, a pack of young children, tired of their staple meal of red beans, raids the French barracks for food.


» Political, satirical and sexy. The world’s first pidgin musical has a follow-up: CozOvMoni 2: FOKN Revenge. More power to Ghanaian hip-hop duo the FOKN Bois.


» Sex and family clash in Morocco in the charged, poignant Salvation Army, which tells of a young Arab man’s awareness of his sexual orientation.


» Hugely respected Malian director Abderrahmane Sissako fictionalises the occupation of Timbuktu by militant Islamic rebels.


» Albinos in Tanzania come under the gaze in White Shadow – from the producers of the award-winning Nairobi Half Life.


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