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FILM ON 2007 NAF (article first published : 2007-03-27)

In a world grown increasingly angry and aggressive, individuals inevitably react by seeking meaning in the particular, the private and the personal. And the arts, harbingers of our inner lives, lead the way. The trend is clear in the Main Programme for the National Arts Festival which takes place in Grahamstown from June 28 to July 7.

Several important new theatre pieces focus closely on the tender moments when two souls find common ground. The music programme is infused with the overwhelming humanity of hundreds of voices singing in unison. A vast embroidered altarpiece celebrates the joy and the beauty of creation. This is pleasure with a deeply healing purpose. Art that helps to fill in what’s missing - helps to make sense of our existence.

Now in its 33rd year, the Festival began in 1974 and has grown to be one of the leading arts festivals in southern Africa. Its objectives are to deliver excellence; encourage innovation and development in the arts by providing a platform for both established and emerging South African artists; create opportunities for collaboration with international artists; and build new audiences.

“The programme offers a representative sample of current creative preoccupations,” said Lynette Marais, Festival Director. “Our artists have extra sensitive antennae which enable them to scout out the route ahead, anticipating the way people on the ground deal with the contexts they find themselves in.” Now, more than ever, audiences and artists are turning inward, reassessing value systems, questioning the accuracy of memory, overhauling the power balance in relationships, and trading-in yesterday’s hopes and dreams for new ones.

Current releases, important retrospectives and a focus on the work of Akin Omotoso, 2007 Standard Bank Young Artist Award Winner for Film, are part of the mix for a film festival that caters to all tastes.

Recent releases include Cannes Golden Palm-winner When the Wind Shakes the Barley, Paris je t’aime (made by 20 directors including South Africa’s Oliver Schmitz), The Fountain by Darren Aronovsky and Werner Herzog’s Grizzly Man.

SMS Sugar Man, shot on cell phones by Aryan Kaganof, John Barker’s feel good Bunny Chow and the director’s cut of After the Rain by Ross Kettle are some of the South African films on the programme.

A sampling of current Mexican cinema includes Babel and Pan’s Labyrinth. A tribute to Germany’s Rainer Werner Fassbinder includes Love is Colder than Death and Fear Eats the Soul.

An Andrei Tarkovsky retrospective features Andrei Rublev and Solaris while contemporary Russian cinema is represented by a Karen Sckahnizharov programme including the award-winning The Assassin of the Tsar.

As the countdown to the festival begins, keep a watchful eye on this space or www.nafest.co.za (See other disciplines for festival programme news)




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