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Durban Film Festival


Film in the cards at Durban's DIFF 2014

My psychic was right... I visited the psychic expo before my first film of the day and the tarot reader told me I'm very relaxed and happy. She was spot on. How can I not be? I'm in Durban at the country's top film event with a smorgasbord of art and independent films just waiting to be seen. 
The 3 films on my menu are superb, albeit for very different reasons. The variety at DIFF this year is outstanding with films for all tastes.
I kicked off the day with The Selfish Giant. This shocking and very realistic portrayal of two young boys' struggle to become "iron pickers" to rise from poverty paints a very harsh and sad picture. The youngsters deliver strong performances and the film is worth seeing. The only criticism is that their Bradford accents are sometimes difficult to follow. Subtitles would be helpful during the next screening on 24 July at Suncoast. I give it an 8/10.
Eastern Boys, a top crime thriller, stunned audiences at the Venice Film Festival. It is a tender love story set in the very violent underworld of Paris. In the film a middle-aged Parisian solicits a young rentboy for sex. The boy is part of a group of an Eastern European gang who live in France illegally.
They are mostly from countries ravaged by conflict. It is great to see a gay themed film that offers more than the traditional coming out story, filled with cliches about the gay subculture. Don't expect drag queens in Eastern boys. The film is harsh, real and violent, but worth seeing. It is always interesting to see how far people will go to find love. It has 2 more screenings - on 25 and 27 July. give it a 9/10. 
The highlight of my day was the film with the longest title I've ever seen, The 100 year old man who climbed out of the window and disappeared. This film is a delight and I hope it has a life after the festival as more filmfans should see it. In the film "the funniest man in Sweden” plays a pensioner who celebrates his 100th birthday by disappearing. 
The film is a monty python-like oddball black comedy that is as fast paced as a rollercoaster ride. It is filled with humour, history, explosions, car chases and friendship. I give it a 10/10 as it left me out of breath and 
for its laugh out loud moments.. 
I also visited the exhibition of the festivals official posters and it is worth seeing how times have changed. The first posters were very bland and then the designs became more elaborate. That is a metaphor for DIFF's small beginnings and today's giant. Some designs are pieces of art. One of the gallery employees joked by saying he should put a price on them! 
* Day 3 has three films in store. The subject matter couldn't be more diverse: How strange to be named Federico, a tribute to the master of Italian cinema, the very Fargo-like Nordic film noir, In order of appearance, and then Love is strange with John Lithgow  and Alfred Molina as an elderly gay couple. Love is strange is in competition.

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