Ukuhlolwa KwePhupha: Some dreams are never realised

accreditation
Hlumela Matika makes use of film to visualise the ability to co-exist in a number of planes: in real time, online and in dreams. (Courtesy of the National Arts Festival)
Hlumela Matika makes use of film to visualise the ability to co-exist in a number of planes: in real time, online and in dreams. (Courtesy of the National Arts Festival)
National Arts Festival
  • Directed by Hlumela Matika, Ukuhlolwa Kwephupha tells the story of a women who experiences altered realities while in isolation.
  • The short, silent film reverberates with the failures of its protagonist’s perception. 
  • Throughout the non-verbal performance, Matika encapsulates how dreams that haunt us can often come and go without interpretations


Some dreams are not dreams, but echoes from distant callings. In Ukuhlolwa KwePhupha, Hlumela Matika is a womxn who wakes from her bed without an awakening at all; because her dreams continue to go uninterpreted. Moving nonchalantly in her colonial home she sits threading red cotton through her floral embroidery whilst her mirrors come to life with messages from the past. The ocean crashes in the background of her mirror. She splits into three. When she looks around she does not see the other versions of herself. She does not see the version, still in bed, fading away.

The short, silent film reverberates with the failures of its protagonist’s perception. Akaboni!

In the analysis of dreams, water can be foreboding; particularly, when it crashes violently in the landscape. Forceful oceanic waves signal: the dreamer is lost. They do not know themselves nor do they know where they should be going. If there is a decision to be made, the dreamer of water is being warned not to make the wrong decision. But, in Ukuhlolwa KwePhupha the womxn is oblivious to any decision she may be making. Her sheer ease while all her mirrors turn into surrealist signposts creates a simple case for the hopelessness of the calls to her awakening. She does not see the collage of eyes in her mirror. The blinking eyes collect into one big eye looking at her from the object of her reflection. “See”, they silently say. But, she sees only the functional mirror.

The camera plays tricks on us as she reaches for her vibrating cellphone, only for the call to shapeshift into an African artefact. A mask, which upturns and reveals a dark pool of water. In it she wears a mask of two-faces and then we drop into an image of her at the shore of the beach which had  called to her. When we cut back to her single image in bed, she is on her cellphone ignorant of the journey we’ve taken. We become divine, seeing other realms beyond the perception of the dreamer.

Matika’s meditative style makes Ukuhlolwa KwePhupha a softly frustrating journey where all is left unsaid, as the meanings of dreams can often go unknown.

Watch Ukuhlolwa KwePhupha here

This article was originally published by The Critter

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