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Strong female roles featured in DIFF opening and closing films

Actress Zandile Madliwa in the movie 1960 which will open this year’s Durban International Film Festival.

Actress Zandile Madliwa in the movie 1960 which will open this year’s Durban International Film Festival.

Published Jun 9, 2022

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Durban - The Durban International Film Festival today announced the opening and closing films for the event that runs from July 21-30 this year.

Hosted by the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts, the festival promises cutting-edge cinema from around the world under the theme: Adaptation, Survival and Sustainability.

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The festival will open with 1960, a drama feature film set in Sophiatown and directed by King Shaft and Michael Mutombo. The film follows a retired singer that revisits her past to assist with an investigation around an apartheid-era policeman. Actress Zandile Madliwa plays the young lady that wants to become a musician, but has a big secret that she has been harbouring for years.

“The story caught me immediately, because I am a huge fan of period pieces,” said Mutombo. “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.”

The festival’s closing film is You’re My Favourite Place, the fifth feature film directed by one of South Africa’s most acclaimed and prolific directors, Jahmil X.T. Qubeka. The film is a vastly different canvas from Qubeka’s previous work. The director refers to it as a merging of his past struggle to come to terms with self in a viciously unfair society, with the struggles facing young black bodies in South Africa today.

It centres around a young girl, played by Tumie Ngumla, from the roughest part of East London, whose life has never been the same since the death of her sister, Anathi. 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,” says Qubeka, who is honoured to return to the DIFF to premiere his latest work.

“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.”

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“This year’s opening and closing film selections both highlight the struggles being faced in South Africa, and celebrate stunning performances from women who take the lead,” said festival manager Valma Pfaff.

The year’s programme includes 19 live screenings, and almost 200 films screened virtually. The entire live screening programme will be announced on June 20. All films, including the virtual screenings, will be announced on July 1.

The Independent on Saturday

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