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Thought-provoking doccies on offer at the 43rd Durban International Film Festival

“Black Mambas” follows an all-female anti-poaching unit in Kruger National Park. Picture: Supplied

“Black Mambas” follows an all-female anti-poaching unit in Kruger National Park. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 28, 2022


Durban - Documentaries submitted from around the world will feature at the 43rd Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), which is set to take place from July 21 to 30.

Twenty carefully curated feature-length documentaries, of which six will be live screening at Suncoast CineCentre, will feature in this year’s line-up.

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From the heart of a glacier in the Italian Alps in “N-Ice Cello” to the evening skies of Beirut in “Kash Kash” - there is something for everyone.

Here’s a list of international doccies to catch at this year’s DIFF.

Wind Blows in the Border

This looks at a fight for ancestral lands. It is directed by Laura Faerman and Marina Weis.

“Wind Blows in the Border”. Picture: Supplied

Adam & Ida

Directed by Jan Tenhavn, it tells the story of Polish-Jewish twins who survived the Holocaust.

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“Adam & Ida”. Picture: Supplied

Portraits of the Future

Filmmaker Virna Molina was shooting a film about the resistance of the subway delegates in Buenos Aires, but the lockdown interrupted it and several protagonists of the film died from Covid-19.

The stopped project is now an existential, philosophical and human essay on the new "normality" that affects us.

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Molina built it as an experiment with the cinematographic resources that isolation allowed her.

“Portraits of the Future”. Picture: Supplied


This was shot over an unparalleled 10 years as Syrian-Lebanese director Noura Kevorkian’s camera follows the plight of Maria and her family of Syrian migrant workers who find themselves unable to return to their hometown of Raqqa Syria.

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Unique among the numerous refugee stories to date, “Batata” captures an entire decade while documenting not just the age-old conflict between two nations, but the unbending spirit of a woman who puts family ahead of all else.

Maria drives tractor in her signature dress and slippers. Picture: N. Kevorkian

Forgotten Dreams

Directed by Marwa El Sharkawy from Egypt, it follows the story of a young, talented, colloquial poet who discovers he has kidney failure.

“Forgotten Dreams”. Picture: Supplied

Music is My Life

It tells the story of the late Joseph Shabalala, including his rise to international fame with his band Ladysmith Black Mambazo in the wake of their contributions to Paul Simon’s massively successful “Graceland” album.

Bathed in Ladysmith’s powerful and deeply beautiful music, the documentary covers the full breadth of the singer’s life, from his early years in rural South Africa to the height of Shabalala’s global success to his passing in 2020 at the age of 79.

Sonny Boy – the Making of a Sound Man

Sonny Boy tells his own life story, being a bi-racial boy, from his humble beginnings in rural KwaZulu-Natal as an orphan to his unlikely rise as a successful sound engineer on the world stage.

Sonny Boy – the Making of a Sound Man. Picture: Supplied.

No U-Turn

Directed by Nollywood filmmaker Ike Nnabue, it goes back to the path he took at the dawn of his adult life when he wanted to reach Europe.

No Simple Way Home

Directed by the South-Sudanese Akuol de Mabior, it offers an intergenerational conversation that charts the struggle to reconcile family and country.

Girl Taken

Directed by Simon Wood and Francois Verster, it tells the incredible story of two parents, whose baby was stolen from Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town at birth, who miraculously found her 17 years later, and who then lost her again.


Directed by Seydou Cisse, it follows three young immigrants from West Africa who take the viewer into the world of African spirituality in the age of new technologies.

African Moot

Directed by Shameela Seedat, it shares the story of the competitors in the prestigious African Human Rights Moot Court Competition.

“African Moot”. Picture: Supplied

The Double Futures of Athlone

Directed by Premesh Lalu, it is a cultural history of Athlone, one of apartheid’s ‘dumping grounds’ for the victims of forced removals.

“The Double Futures of Athlone”. Picture: Supplied.

Black Mambas

Directed by Lena Karbe, it follows the first all-women anti-poaching unit in South Africa assigned to protect the Big Five (elephants, rhinos, lions, leopards and buffalo) in the Greater Kruger National Park.

Chosen by the (mostly white male) conservation committees as a vital marketing tool, the women stand at the crossroads of progress and a colonial past.

Lesotho the Weeping Motherland

Directed by Lwazi Duma Nk, it speaks about the effects of climate change in the agricultural sector.

“Lesotho the Weeping Motherland”. Picture: Supplied.