“I’m fortunate I’m given the freedom to explore and not conform,” said Trevor Steele Taylor, director of the Film Festival.
With wild eyebrows, a blue velvet blazer and black and white cowboy boots, Steele Taylor hardly seems the conforming type. And his selection of films this year appears to have followed suit.
Keeping with tradition, the Film Festival showcases original, innovative works, often directing audiences to cinema that has been marginalised or overlooked.
“We don’t just look for newest films from international festivals that have received accolades,” said Steele Taylor.
Some films will be pulled from the archives of cinema to illustrate the prophetic social quality film can have. Previously misunderstood films will be shown in a new light.
Old South African film
One of them is Gualtiero Jacopetti’s Africa Addio which, in 1966, was accused of promoting racist rather than revolutionary messages. This film, along with others like Werner Hertzog’s Fata Morgana and Silva the Zulu, will establish the historical legacy of pioneering cinema. All three films will be shown in the category, ‘the Society for the Suppression of Savagery’.
Though the Film Festival is an opportunity to sample a plethora of international cinema, it’s also a rare chance to indulge in what South Africa has created. Familiar homemade films like box office favourite, District 9, and popular comedy, Jozi, are on the programme. Though both have received critical recognition, each conveys the thematic mood of South African film, which seeks to fight clichés. Long Street is an intensely intimate and honest film directed by Revel Fox. Fox draws on the real life experience of his own daughter, who battled with drug addiction while trying to make it as a musician.
It’s essentially “a love story to Cape Town”, said Steel Taylor.
The United Colours of Yeoville, directed by Savo Tufegdzic, is a recent documentary with 20-year-old footage from the director’s life in Yeoville, a suburb of Johannesburg. The film recalls a community that remained a vibrant mecca for artists, activists and revolutionaries during the height of political instability.
Claire Angelique, the Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year for Film, embodies everything the Film Festival aims to achieve. With her film, My Black Little Heart, Angelique sheds light on addiction, prostitution and dark cultural practices. Through this confrontational film, Angelique sets fire to convention and South African cinema ablaze.
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