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Tuesday, July 20, 2010


(Pic: Still from “The Bull on the Roof”)

31st Durban International Film Festival offers thought-provoking and downright funny films from India and the Indian diaspora.

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 July 22 to August 1, promising 11 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 Bœuf 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.

Programme booklets with the full screening schedule and synopses of all the films are available free at cinemas, Computicket, and other outlets. Call 031 2602506 or 031 2601650 for further details. For full festival information, click on the Centre for Creative Arts advert which links you to the Durban International Film Festival site.

Principal screening venues of the festival are the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre; Nu Metro Cinecentre - Suncoast; Ster Kinekor Junction – Musgrave; Cinema Nouveau - Gateway; Ekhaya Multi-Arts Centre in KwaMashu; and The Royal Hotel, with further screenings in township areas where cinemas are non-existent.

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, Goethe Institut, Industrial Development Corporation, Commonwealth Foundation, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Arts and Culture, and a range of other valued partners.