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Monday, May 9, 2011


Every first and third Thursday of the month, the KZNSA Gallery lawn transforms into a picnic theatre with a selection of international art-house, classic, foreign, experimental and generally interesting films. Supported by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, this project offers an eclectic mix of memorable films from across space and time for those who have a taste for the alternative.

The current season is titled Girlhood and the Middle East. Entering the realm of womanhood is a complex, difficult and deeply personal experience for adolescent girls universally, if diversely. While the experience is deeply private, leaving girlhood carries with it the weight of entering into the adult world of the social order and social roles which are simultaneously very public. In regions such as Iran and Afghanistan, where the two films in this theme are located, the bodies of women are defined and limited in ways that are different to those experienced in a more westernised space that has a history of emancipatory feminist politics. These two films unravel, in quite different ways, the intimacies of blossoming femininity against a backdrop of the Middle East.

The movie on May 19 is Persepolis (2007) an Iranian/French production featuring Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi, 96 mins, Iran/France

Persepolis is a small landmark in feature animation. Not because of technical innovation - though it moves fluidly enough, and its drawings have a handcrafted charm forgotten in the era of the cross-promoted-to-saturation CGI-'toon juggernauts - but because it translates a sensitive, introspective, true-to-life, "adult" comic story into moving pictures.

Graphic novelist Marjane Satrapi has led a fascinating life, which she tells in an original fashion in Persepolis. This animated feature shows the young Marjane growing up in a communist family in Tehran, becoming politicised and rebelling at college in Austria. The predominantly black-and-white animation is used to amusing effect as Satrapi gently pokes fun at her youthful exuberance and innocence, making serious political points easy to swallow.

Despite dealing with adult themes such as interrogation, imprisonment, drugs and sexual awakenings, there's a delightfully childlike element to Persepolis. Initially, much of the action is seen through the bright but naive eyes of the young Marjane, a playful, feisty child who's quick to judge - a trait that is frequently funny.

Bring blankets, snacks and vino, and relive the era of the drive-in as the screen flickers under the starry sky. If the temperamental Durban weather threatens to rain on the parade, the screening will move inside to the tiered café seating. Entrance is free of charge. However, a collection box will be passed around at the screenings for those who wish to place a donation in order to cover running costs incurred by the KZNSA.

The KZNSA Gallery is situated at 166 Bulwer Road, Glenwood. For further information, please contact Sarah Dawson on 083 777 1130 or email: