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KAGANOF AT BATIK (article first published : 2002-12-25)

Johannesburg-based film-maker Aryan Kaganof recently returned from Perugia in Italy, where he represented South Africa at the prestigious bATiK Film Festival in late November.

Kaganof's film Western 4.33, winner of Milan's 12th Festival of African Cinema, was screened as part of a selection of films considered by the Festival to be the most important aesthetic contributions to African cinema of the past 20 years. The film was the only South African contribution to the list.

A cinematographic exposition dedicated to international independent cinema, the bATiK Film Festival plays host to films from over 70 countries.

Kaganof also represented the country at a conference on the poetics and aesthetics of African film. The conference was linked to the Festival, and featured other important contemporary African film-makers like Mohamed Challouf (Tunisia), Ferid Boughedir (Tunisia), Mahmoud Ben Mahmoud (Tunisia), Balufu Bakupa Kanyinda (Democratic Republic of Congo) and Abdheramane Sissako (Mauritania).

An experimental documentary dealing with the Shark Island German concentration camp near Luderitz, Namibia, Western 4.33 exposes the atrocities committed in the camp that resulted in the incarceration of thousands of Herero people from 1905 to 1908. The film had its South African debut at Durban's NSA gallery in August this year as part of The Staging of the Artist as the Work Itself, a large-scale exhibition of Kaganof's digital paintings.

Sugar Man And Other Bitter Stories, Kagnof's book of short stories, has just been published by Pine Slopes Publications. This story cycle was inspired by Sugar Man, the legendary song on Rodriguez's Cold Fact album. The stories will provide the basis for a feature film later next year (2003).

Johannesburg-born Kaganof, who lived in Durban from 1973 to 1983, left South Africa in 1984 for Holland, where he published his novel Hectisch (Hectic!). Set in the low-life underworld of Cape Town's Sea Point, the novel was published in South Africa by Pine Slope Publications earlier this year.




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