Nobody’s Died Laughing

Durban International Film Festival 2016: Short, sharp reviews by Brenda Daniels

This excellent documentary by filmmaker Willem Oelofsen traces the life and work of well-known South African satirist Pieter-Dirk Uys. The director was present at the screening I attended and he explained that viewers should have been as exhausted once the show was done as Uys must be at the end of each of his very busy days. The film is indeed packed full of details about Uys from childhood to the present time. It includes interviews with several different celebrities and colleagues; face-to-face time with Uys himself; excerpts of several public performances around South Africa and abroad; visits to his home; and details of his humanitarian work.

Visit www.durbanfilmfest.co.za for more information.

Positively Beautiful

Durban International Film Festival 2016: Short, sharp reviews by Brenda Daniels

I had the pleasure today of seeing the last DIFF screening of this South African documentary. The film details the stories of five adults who become friends through their shared journey as HIV positive people. Societal prejudice against the disease forms the backdrop for each participant’s experience, from animosity towards homosexuality to the risk of being killed for admitting one’s HIV status. The “positive” word in the title is a play, of course, on HIV and on how the participants bravely live out their lives. The strength of this film is the very personal depiction of each person’s story. I hope it gets future screenings in South Africa and abroad.

Visit www.durbanfilmfest.co.za for more information.

Review of The Unravelling of Ingrid Steele

Ingrid Steele book picThis firmly South African novel is set in the fictional rural area of Dirkersfield, SA, and follows the adventures of main character, Ingrid Steele. Ingrid’s husband, Warren, has a mental breakdown and is admitted to hospital for psychiatric treatment. It is while he is there that Ingrid discovers a long-held family secret, one that has grave consequences for herself, her family and her community. As Ingrid “unravels” in the face of emerging truths she questions her Christian faith, the strength of her relationships, the taboo of mixed race romances in South Africa’s vulnerable new democracy, and the difference between infatuation and love. Author, Leanne Hunt, does well to weave these themes into a plot that delivers a number of surprises, thereby keeping the reader’s attention and providing food for thought. I loved the South African flavour of this novel and its thoughtful highlighting of difficult issues like racial prejudices and the AIDS pandemic. Visit www.leannehunt.co.za for further information.