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Saturday, June 13, 2009


Film Festival promises sizzling cinema programme at the National Arts Festival (Grahamstown)

Ranging from warm fuzzy viewing to hot shocks, the Film Festival programme promises to raise temperatures at the National Arts Festival (Grahamstown July 2 to 11 2009). Rare treasures from the annals of celluloid, fascinating documentaries, hard-hitting footage by South African filmmakers, current chart toppers – there is something for every taste.

Jann Turner’s feel-good romp, White Wedding shines like a good deed in a wicked world among the other South African features that are preoccupied with crime, vice and violence. Claire Angelique’s dark and bloody My Black Little Heart, Ralph Ziman’s Hillbrow crime chiller, Jerusalema and Savo Tufegdzic’s Crime go straight to the jugular.

Seven groups of shorter fiction and documentary films, mostly by South Africans, offer ideal fast mind-food for the busy diary. Some packages are spicy, some easy-viewing, some are mixed, like the combination of a gentle New Age love story The Soul Minders with the screaming hysteria of Axe’s H.A.M. which features scenes shot in an abattoir. Work by the likes of Akin Omotoso, Anton Kotze, Dionysos Andronis and Liza Key are included.

Slumdog Millionaire and The Wrestler are among the recent hits on the listing. Nicolas Roeg’s Puffball based on a Fay Weldon novel and Ben van Lieshout’s The Muse based on JM Coetzee’s Youth are among several features whose provenance is literature. A Joseph Strick retrospective featuring seven gems by the most literary of filmmakers takes us back into the high moments of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Tropic of Cancer, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Ulysses are examples.

A selection of major works from the Philippines reveals the intellectual and creative edge of the nation of islands. Eminent scriptwriter Clodualdo del Mundo Jnr will be at the Festival, courtesy of the Philippine Embassy, to introduce the screenings.

The Baader Meinhof Complex directed by Uli Edel and Peter Josef’s two Zeitgeist movies exposing the lie of democracy are among the thought-provoking documentaries scheduled.

In addition to the main Film Festival, “Cine-mazing” on The Fringe offers a packed programme of shorts, documentaries and feature films, backed up by Q&A sessions with filmmakers in residence. European film festival curator Cis Bierienckx will be at the Festival courtesy of the Representation of Flanders.

The “10 days of amazing!” at the National Arts Festival will run from July 2 to 11 2009, in Grahamstown. For more information visit the website on