A review by Brenda Daniels
The opening and closing scenes of Plot for Peace are those of Algerian-born Frenchman, Jean-Yves Ollivier, playing cards. Ollivier begins his story by explaining that when Algeria won its independence, three million white people, Ollivier’s family included, were forced to leave that country.
This seemingly affected Ollivier to the extent that when he involved himself in Southern African politics many years later he strove to broker a peace that precluded the fallout of whole groups of people. And so, while Mandela and the ANC within South Africa worked towards the end of Apartheid that would result in the “rainbow nation”, Ollivier, an unrelated and “mysterious Frenchman”, was working outside South Africa with a similar view in mind.
His involvement included brokering communication between six Southern African nations during the war-torn 1980s. Countries that were backed by the USA or communist Russia and involved in wars in Angola, Mozambique and South West Africa.
Plot for Peace is a riveting film. The complicated nature of the material and the French with English subtitles make it fairly difficult to watch. While aspects of Apartheid and our country’s complex past are now common knowledge, Plot for Peace shows the foreign forces that were at play in this confusing game of politics.
I found it enlightening, educational and very, very sobering.
Jean-Yves Ollivier photographed in Oslo. Photo: Johnny Vaet Nordskog
Plot for Peace is the fourth DIFF film I’ve watched since the opening of the festival on 17 July 2014.
A review by Brenda Daniels
B for Boy is a Nigerian feature film directed by Chika Anadu. It tells the story of a middle-class, modern couple torn by traditional Igbo customs. Amaka, at 39 years of age, is pregnant with the couple’s second child. Pressure from her husband’s extended family for the unborn child to be a boy begins to build.
In this patriarchal society, continuing the family name through a son is vital. But more than the men, it is the women who exert the influence, and in so doing perpetuate their own position as second rate citizens.
We see modern-minded Amaka beginning to buckle and, with the help of pther circumstances, resorts to devious methods to live up to the expectations of her relatives.
There is no moralising in this story. Anadu is careful to present the characters as multi-layered and human. The film is slow, with many pauses, all of which add to the tension and allow the viewer to think.
B for Boy is a fine work by this first-time director, who also produced the film, doing everything from casting to camera work. Its message to women is an important one. I hope B for Boy makes the impact it should.
B for Boy is the third film I have watched that is screened for the Durban International Film Festival this year. The festival began on 17 July and ends on 27 July.
The Durban International Film Festival runs from 17 to 27 July 2014.
The first film I saw was Rear Window. Unlike many of the films at the Festival, this one is not a new one. It was in fact made in 1954 and is listed under the Festival section “The Films That Made Me”. This section includes only five films – selected by South African director Khalo Matabane as the five films that were influential in his growth as a filmmaker.
Rear Windowwas made by Alfred Hitchcock and stars blue-eyed James Stewart and Grace Kelly. The story is shot completely from the “rear” window of LB Jeffries’ apartment in Greenwich Village.
Injured whilst on duty, Jeffries is confined to a wheelchair and out of boredom he watches the goings-on of his neighbours as they live out their lives displayed for Jeffries to see in their own rear windows. Knowing that it was an Alfred Hitchcock movie I expected a murder and, sure enough, quick-witted Jeffries begins to suspect one of his neighbours as having murdered his wife.
The pace is slow, and at times boring. But it picks up towards the end. And when seen from its conclusion Rear Window is a tightly crafted film that is much more than a simple whodunit.
James Stewart in Rear Window (1954)