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Durban Film Festival


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The heat is on

I don't know what's more uncomfortable - the balmy 30 Celsius in winter and uncertainty after the banning of the opening film at DIFF.
The organisers will appeal the banning at the Constitutional Court, but I can't stop myself from thinking what's next.
I attended two screenings on Day 2. In previous years I had never thought of interference from anybody in the choice of films screened , and now I can't help thinking that almost 90% of the films could be banned for one reason or other. That's what happens when Big Brother steps in - you don't know where he'll draw the line.
When Thomas Vinterberg's  superb The Hunt (Jagten) started an hour late I couldn't help thinking the film was confiscated. The film is about a very equally sensitive issue, child abuse. It pictures a man “hunted" by the community. Mads Mikkelson in the lead role won best actor at Cannes. Its next screenings will be on 23 and 28 July at Suncoast.                
I also watched the superb Israeli doccie and Oscar nominated, The Gatekeepers, about the inner workings of Shin Bet, with the filmmaker in attendance. This film could also have been banned due to the sensitive Middle Eastern issue and graphic images. The Gatekeepers has other screenings on 24 July at Ekhaya and 28 July at Suncoast.
As I went to bed, I've decided to put the banning behind me as I want the old DIFF back. I want to watch films again that are "mostly all undesirable”, ground breaking, cutting edge pieces of art that are pushing boundaries. 
I have a tough Saturday (day 3 of the festival) with African Gothic (based on Diepe Grond), Quentin Dupieux's Wrong (a man's life goes horribly wrong when his dog dies, but there must be much more to it than that), Spring Breakers (an ode to boobs and bodies) and Interior. Leather Bar, James Franco's doccie about the recreation of missing scenes from a 70s hardcore gay film that caused a stir when it was released in the US.

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