South African Film Festival

Film, Film festivals
Riding with Sugar, SAFF 2021
Photograph: Supplied/SAFF
Influence, SAFF 2021
Photograph: Supplied/SAFFA woman in a yellow hat
For Love and Broken Bones, SAFF 2021
Photograph: Supplied/SAFF

Time Out says

Binge the best of South African cinema from the comfort of your sofa in trackie dacks

You have a second chance to stream the cream of this year's the South African Film Festival (SAFF). SAFF On Demand presents an encore of the entire 2021 program, so you can watch a bunch of brilliant features, shorts and documentaries exploring the fraught history and rich culture of the nation from the comfort of your own sofa. They've even thrown in a handful of faves from previous years too. 

Available to rent online from May 29 to June 13, single tickets are $8/$10 (one person/group), or $80 for the lot. All proceeds go to supporting Education without Borders in programs that assist young South Africans in some of the country’s most disadvantaged communities.

Highlights include Sundance hit Influence, a powerful doco about nefarious PR company Bell Pottinger’s massaging of bad deeds in South Africa and beyond, including facilitating the corrupt relationship between President Jacob Zuma and the Gupta family, spurring racial hatred and division.

Elsewhere, Toorbos adapts the much-loved Dalene Matthee novel about an 18-year-old woman living in an impoverished community in the Knysna forest who is forced into an arranged marriage. Yet she refuses to be stifled by conservative Afrikaans society’s expectations in the drumbeat days marching towards WWII, and as the government plans to force them out of their homes. Or for something a little lighter, check out the BMX Bandits vibes of Riding with Sugar, an action-packed movie with a big heart that’s centred on an orphanage on Cape Town and young boys who dream big.

We were sold on For Love and Broken Bones and the promise of “an unexpectedly tender gangster flick featuring a jazz musician debt collector who falls in love with his latest assignment, a wedding planner.” Doco Blindside highlights the bravery of protestors who risked all to stand against British rugby team the Lions’ breaking of the boycott, and the role that everyday people played in dismantling Apartheid. And don’t miss Mama Africa, celebrating the life of singer-songwriter, actor and activist Miriam Makeba, a passionate proponent of Black liberation. And Barakat, taking its name from the Urdu word for “Blessings,” offers a rare and insightful glimpse into the heart of the Muslim, Malay, mixed-race community of Cape Town through the dramas of one family.

Festival Director Claire Jankelson says: “South Africa produces some of the richest stories for cinema the world over. Much like the country itself, the films are all at once challenging, bold, beautiful and heart-warming.”

You can check out the program here

Love international movies? Also check out the German Film Festival.

By: Stephen A Russell



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