Durban International Film Festival 2016: Short, sharp reviews by Brenda Daniels
The documentary, The Journeymen, was filmed solely on GoPro cameras strapped to the chests of three millennials, Sean Metelerkamp, Sipho Mpongo and Wikus De Wet. The South African friends – White English-speaking, White Afrikaans-speaking, and Black Xhosa-speaking men – examine the state of South Africa today, 20 years after democracy. They travel across South Africa into the less salubrious township areas, speak cross-culturally to its residents, and have difficult race-based and political conversations amongst themselves and with the people they meet. A brave and unique endeavour, The Journeymen, is both sobering and heartening to watch. Sobering because of the staggering problems so many people in this country face. Heartening because if these three young men are anything to go by, then perhaps we have a chance of making SA’s race relations work. Visit www.durbanfilmfest.co.za for further screening times.
Finding Dory is the animated tale of a forgetful little fish called Dory. Many viewers will remember Dory from the film Finding Nemo. Well, Dory’s story here forms a sort of prequel and a sequel to that film. In the prequel part we learn about Dory’s origins: her loving parents, her problematic short term memory, and how she goes missing from the family home. Nemo and his anxious dad, in the sequel part, are roped in to help find Dory and in so doing experience many adventures along the way.
Those adventures take the friends to a public aquarium in their search of Dory. In this environment they interact with humans as well as other sea creatures (as Nemo does in Finding Nemo when he lands up in a fish tank in a dentist’s office). The filmmakers make a point of promoting the aquarium’s motto of “Rescue, Rehabilitation and Release” – perhaps a bit of propaganda to ensure the viewing public doesn’t get too antsy about wild animals held in captivity? Negativity aside, the travels of the fishy friends cleverly mirror this motto. They find themselves trapped in the aquarium’s tunnels, befriend other animals in various stages of rehabilitation (a whale having trouble with echolocation, an octopus who is actually a septapus because he’s missing one tentacle), and then are released in a hilariously dramatic car chase. Note: no humans were harmed during the filming of Finding Dory…
All through the story we see Dory as the endearing, amusing fish we were introduced to in the first film. The script does well to keep true to Dory’s character while at the same time creating change and development in her. And true to a fairly typical Disney theme, what Dory learns is that she has value despite her shortcomings.
Finding Dory is a lovely family film. It opens at cinemas in South Africa today.