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Monday, October 9, 2017


(A scene from “Even Lovers Get the Blues”)

Having now fulfilled the technical requirements of the Film & Publications Board (FPB) of South Africa, the now fully registered Durban Gay & Lesbian Film Festival (DGLFF) has resumed its screening programme across the city. The shock postponement wrought by the FBS's last-minute engagement with the DGLFF days prior to the official opening on August 25 was difficult for the team.

"We were geared for our best Festival yet, and the news that FPB needed us to wait 30 days whilst they checked our film selection, with only something like three days to spare, was devastating on planning, and the momentum we'd built up," laments festival director Jason Fiddler. "Of course I have to respect where the FPB is coming from, and I share their commitment to protecting minors from harmful material. The DGLFF's focus has been on mature and LGBTIQ-relevant content so I was confident there."

Fortunately for the opening night on August 25, INXEBA (The Wound), was already classified. "The amaXhosa king had only the week previously called for this film to be shut down. Unfortunately for that call, we were able to screen it, as we were licensed without any problems and of course, as an already 16 SL classified film, INXEBA could proceed. The rest of the programme, or course, could not," reflects Fiddler, with a hint of irony.

The critically-acclaimed and award-winning INXEBA stars musician and novelist Nakhane Touré as Xolani, a lonely factory worker who joins the men of his community in the mountains of the Eastern Cape to initiate a group of teenage boys into manhood. The film has now been officially selected as South Africa's entry into the foreign language section of the Academy Awards in 2018, a decision that has continued to stir calls from traditionalists for its effective banning.

"Having discussed this over with the film's producers and distributors, and in spite of the fact we'd already screened twice on opening weekend a month ago, we felt that the circumstances warranted another opportunity for Durban's LGBTIQ community to see the film until its commercial release in February next year," says Fiddler.

INXEBA (The Wound) had an encore screening on October 7 at the KZNSA Gallery in Glenwood, Durban, whilst a daytime community screening was co-ordinated off the main programme.

The revised festival programme is already under way and continues to October 11, 2017. "I'm very pleased that the FPB had no issues with our original selection of 47 films, albeit that the Danish documentary Miss Rosewood was classified 18 SN," says Fiddler. "There are some powerful documentaries, an extraordinary selection of short films and entertaining feature films await."

Included in the remaining programme was the US musical-romantic drama Something Like Summer. Argentinean drama Bromance was screened at Tina's Hotel in Kloof and can be seen again on October 10 at the KZNSA at 19h00. It tells the story of three 20 year-olds who make a trip looking to reconnect, to regain their teen-hood friendship. But time has changed them and the intrusion of a girl will take them to the limit and will test their desires up to the breaking point of all the ties that binds them.

Tonight, October 9, brings about the now annual tradition at DGLFF of francophone cinema, "French Nite" at Alliance Francaise Durban in Morningside, with a selection of documentary and narrative films. In Even Lovers Get The Blues, Ana is sleeping with Hugo, Dalhia with Graciano, Léo with Louis, and Arthur with everyone. Parties and love affairs lead to heart searching, deep desires and the craving to live life to the full. It is a portrait of the love and sexual lives of disenchanted and passionate young people.

In continuing its long-standing partnership with the Durban Lesbian & Gay Community & Health Centre, DGLFF is arranging free daytime community screenings of short film packages at 15h00, at the Centre in Morningside, from October 9 to 11. Seating is very limited and on a first-come, first-seated basis. The Centre offers clinic services and HIV testing as well as outreach and advocacy work.

The closing night film is the extraordinary Zulu lesbian short film Sina Nomakotshana (Dance With The Maidens) at 19h00 on October 11. It tells the story of a people-pleasing girl from a staunchly religious and homophobic family who falls in love with her dance partner, and must choose whether to come out of the closet during her traditional Zulu initiation into womanhood, or give up on her lover.

The revised DGLFF programme is available online and all screening information in the printed souvenir guide books remains relevant (apart from dates and times). Information and PDF download can be found at the Festival website