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Thursday, July 24, 2014


(Pallance Dladla as TK & Thishiwe Ziqubu as Skiets)

(artSMart reviewer Pranesh is covering the Durban International Film Festival. This is his report on the opening ceremony and film)

If you want to be entertained, go and watch this flick. (Review by Pranesh Maharaj)

I waited with bated breath at the screening. I waited through speeches and more speeches. It would have been less tiring for me if somebody knew exactly what was going on. So; a bit more planning if you want to hold formalities for the opening film, please. Otherwise, just get to it. When politicians sign documents for funding to go through they are merely doing their job. We shouldn’t have to owe them a platform to speak about things they really know very little about.

I waited because of the stunts from last year. I half expected for something to go bang amidst the speeches but it only happen after Avalon’s very inspiring promo; when the film started. After the banning, I was first in line for that last chance viewing of Of Good Report and was the only silly bum to get up and applaud like a child being offered candy. But I didn’t want the same experience. I didn’t want someone to come offer me something mushy and relevant. I wanted to be entertained. I was.

Hard to Get has villains, heroes and villainous heroes. It has bad language and raw sex. It has cars sliding from one end of a street to another and punches that made you cringe for the guy receiving them. I loved it. Hard to Get is an action flick that sees the heroine walk off into the sunset with her man. I remembered why I didn’t watch Lethal weapon 4. The original of the sequels entertained me but I couldn’t identify with anything. Not even the one with the South African embassy villains. A theatre practitioner will look for depth and subtext; but if you want to be entertained, go and watch this flick.

Hard to Get is directed by Zee Ntuli who wrote the screenplay with TT Sibisi. The cinematographer is Tom Marais and the cast features Pallance Dladla, Thishiwe Ziqubu, Israel Makoe, Paka Zwedala and Jerry Mofokeng.

 A few points that stood out for me was the commitment by the entire cast. You can tell that they all wanted to be there. The cinematography was splendid. The choice of and applicable use of locations created a nice world for the story. We found ourselves immersed in it. I am still stoked that the very young looking Zee Ntuli pulled this off. Yes, with a host of mentoring and development by NFVF and very experienced producers; it’s still fascinating.

TK (Pallance Dladla) is a womaniser of note who encounters the beautiful strong and alluring Skiets (Thishiwe Ziqubu) when she walks into the shebeen where he works. Skiets is working to a plan and it almost seems as if she roped him into this plan. TK just wants to get into her pants and Skiets never admits it until the bitter end; but she is in love with him. They steal a car from the local bully who spends the rest of the movie looking for them. The couple fail at little robberies and are discovered by the Don of rogues that form the underbelly of Jo’burg. It’s not long before their will and love are put to the test.

The pace of this film is so carefully crafted to make sure that they have your attention through every action-filled minute. So when it came to the romance or grimacing action sequences I didn’t want it to drop. I wanted the movie to keep thrusting forward; and it did.

Nice wine and snacks get-together after the screening although not as grand as last year. I am all for giving the politicians more time on stage if we can have the big top, the stage, the fire outside and live entertainment.

Programme booklets with the full screening schedule and synopses of all the films on the Festival are available free at cinemas, and other public information outlets. Full festival details can also be found on or by calling 031 260 2506 or 031 260 1816. – Pranesh Maharaj

The 35th Durban International Film Festival is organised by the Centre for Creative Arts at the University of KZN (a special project of the Deputy Vice Chancellor of the College of Humanities, Cheryl Potgieter) with support from the National Film and Video Foundation, KZN Department of Economic Development & Tourism, KZN Film Commission, City of Durban, German Embassy, Goethe Institut, Industrial Development Corporation, KZN Department of Arts and Culture and range of other valued partners.