Abidjan: To Repel Ghosts, directed by Philippe Lacôte.
On 12 August 1988, Jean-Michel Basquiat passed away. Nevertheless, his memory remains very much alive. This film pays homage to him by telling the unknown story of his trip to the Ivory Coast. Basquiat arrived in Abidjan at a time when he was exhausted. Haunted by his ghosts. All his hope lay in this first encounter with Africa…
Cairo: The Cave, directed by Ahmed Ghoneimy.
Adham, a young lad from Alexandria travels to Cairo to pursue his musical career and rebound with his old friend, Amr, a member of his former band who has since attempted to settle his life.
Dakar: The Other Woman (L’autre Femme), directed by Marie KA.
From Senegal comes a brave, controversial film set in the secret world of multiple spouse households. KA’s film homes in on one story as Madeleine and her husband’s new, young second wife develop a relationship far beyond conventional norms. The intimacy has the potential to blow apart a stable domestic situation, but it also has the potential to rewrite the story of both women’s lives. A bold and exquisitely tender film, beautifully acted and sensitively filmed against the backdrop of colourful, beguiling Dakar.
Johannesburg: Berea, directed by Vincent Moloi.
Long after his friends and family have moved on, Jewish pensioner Aaron Zukerman remains in his inner-city apartment, his world getting ever smaller and smaller, as the city closes in on his memories and happiness. His focus is on a weekly assignation with a kindly prostitute, for which he prepares days in advance. But when her unexpected replacement arrives one Friday, an initially angry response sparks a chain of events that ultimately changes the way the old man sees his world. A gentle, poetic ode to the power of reinvention.
Kinshasa: Kisita, directed by Carole Maloba.
Against the backdrop of middle-class Kinshasa, an aging wife hangs on to her role as the most important woman in her husband’s life. But her dominance is threatened by her beautiful – and flirtatious - daughter who seems hell-bent on stealing her man and her position. All is not as it seems though, and as jealousy threatens to get out of hand, events take an unexpected turn, one, which will leave no one untouched.
Lagos: The Line-Up, directed by Folasakin Iwajomo.
Ten men in a taxi, strangers to each other, head to an unusual line up, where they must strip and subject themselves to blindfolds and inspection by a mysterious woman and her charge. Only seven go home that night, big money in their pockets. But what of the other three? The ritual is replayed again and again, and the attrition continues. For one man the rumours of how much ‘the chosen’ make spurs him on – he is desperate for the money to pay for a child’s operation. But what is price of being chosen? Iwajomo’s spooky, disturbing film confronts the perils of the poverty trap and the abuse of the desperate, in an allegory for the exploited.
Nairobi: Homecoming, directed by Jim Chuchu.
Nothing is quite what it seems as a nerdy voyeur turns fiction into truth and the mundane into the unexpected in his quest to get the proverbial girl next door. Earth is about to be pulverised by a meteor - or is it? - and it is the ideal opportunity to finally make known his unspoken desires – and be a knight on the proverbial white steed. But a mysterious stranger stands in the way of his happiness. Will he overcome mass extinction and his own timidity and get the girl? A fun, warm, light-hearted look at obsession and the desire to be seen.
That's it - the 7 films. Let's hope they travel.
The Durban International Film Festival takes place from July 18 – 28, 2013. The Festival includes 170 theatrical screenings (I've highlighted a few, and will highlight a few more), a full seminar/workshop programme as well as the Wavescape Film Festival and industry initiatives: the 6th Talent Campus Durban (in cooperation with the Berlin Talent Campus) and the 4th Durban FilmMart (the co-production market in partnership with the Durban Film Office), with the Wild Talk Africa Festival taking place in the city from July 23 to 26.
For more information go to www.durbanfilmfestival.co.za.