Celebrating its 43rd year of cutting-edge cinema, the Durban International Film Festival has yet to disappoint.
This year, under the theme “Adaptation, Survival and Sustainability”, the festival organisers have hand-picked its opening and closing film to reflect just that.
"1960“, a drama feature film set in Sophiatown and directed by duo King Shaft and Michael Mutombo, will open the 10-day festival.
The film follows a retired singer who revisits her past to assist with an investigation around an apartheid-era policeman. Actress Zandile Madliwa plays the young woman who wants to become a musician but has a big secret that she harbours for years.
Mutombo said his attention was caught immediately as he is a huge fan of period pieces.
“It was first developed as a series but later turned into a feature film. Every time I watch it, it gets me to a place I have never been before. The music turned out phenomenal. I hope we can all enjoy the film the way I do,” said Mutombo.
“You’re My Favourite Place” will close the festival. It is the fifth feature film directed by one of South Africa’s most acclaimed and prolific directors, Jahmil XT Qubeka of Yellowbone Entertainment, who previously gave us award-winning films like “Sew the Winter to my Skin”, “Knuckle City” and “Of Good Report”.
While this film is not usually what we have come to expect from Qubeka, it’s great that he’s stepped out of the box.
“You’re My Favourite Place” centres on a young girl, played by Tumie Ngumla, from the roughest part of East London whose life has never been the same since her sister’s death.
On the last day of their high school careers, she and three friends embark on a life-defining road trip by stealing a taxi and heading to the remote landmark of Hole in the Wall, where Xhosa legend has it you can talk to the dead.
“Through the lens of this feature film I return to my home town to examine the reality of youth fighting to redefine themselves amidst the flux of our current dispensation,” said Qubeka.
He said while drizzling in a delightful blend of ’80s genre tropes, the film masks its ambitious attempt to take a deep head-first dive into the depths of teen angst.
“DIFF will always remain my first home as a film-maker. A refuge for the artistic voices of cinema in South Africa and on the continent, DIFF is a space that truly embodies the celebration of South African film.”
Festival manager Valma Pfaff said both films highlight the struggles being faced in South Africa and celebrate stunning performances from women who take the lead.
DIFF’s 2022 diverse international programme will be released on July 1. This year’s festival, which takes place from July 21 to 30, includes 19 live screenings and almost 200 films screened virtually.