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Durban Film Festival


Cape Town to Pyongyang - reporting from Durban DIFF


Only at a film festival can you experience the underworlds of Cape Town and Bangkok and the beauty of North Korea.

Tourist brochures paint a very different picture. My last day at Diff started with a doccie about the Nice Time Kids, a gang on the Cape Flats. The Devil's Lair takes viewers into the home of one of the gang leaders where death can come at any moment and his wife also lives with this reality.

There are no more screenings at DIFF.

Ryan Gosling can be seen in Only God Forgives, a Thai film nowhere as good as Drive with double the violence and Gosling's dialogue is even less. The film, set in Bangkok's world of boxing and drugs, is very dark indeed. Fans of the Hollywood hunk will be enthralled, although they will cringe as he gets really roughed up. Kristin Scott Thomas can be seen as his mother. There will be no more screenings of the film at DIFF, but it has been picked up for distribution by Videovision.

The top film of the day - and one of the weirdest - was Comrade Kim goes flying. Pyongyang is pictured as beautiful and modern, the people happy and fed. When you look through the propaganda, this is a gem. The story, filled with humour and real emotion, is of a coal miner who wants to be a trapeze artist in the circus. There are no more screenings of the film at DIFF.

Some of the highlights still coming up over the remainder of the ff are Laurence Anyways, Xavier Dolan's three hour long gender bending drama, Cannes winner The Past (Le Passe) and the closing film, Free Angela and all political prisoners.

I shall post the award winners on my blog after the ceremony on 27 July.

Durban is still the only filmfest of this stature in SA. Till 2014 for the 35th edition.


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