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ARYAN KAGANOF (article first published : 2002-04-19)

South African film-maker Aryan Kaganof has won the 12th Festival of African Cinema, Milan.

Western 4.33, a South African/Dutch co-production scripted and directed by Kaganof, won the prestigious First Prize for Best Video made in Africa for 2001/2. The announcement was made at a recent ceremony held in Milan, Italy.

Western 4.33 is only the second ever South African production to win a prize at the festival. The first was Zola Maseko's Hottentot Revue in 1999. It is the first time that the African festival has awarded a prize to a so-called “white”. 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 jury report described the film as "A reflection recorded in physical pain and in the memory, where images and sounds, the photography and editing, combine to build up a great sensorial and political experience, for a new way of observing and experiencing the relationship with time and space".

Johannesburg-born Kaganof, who lived in Durban from 1973 to 1983, left South Africa in 1984 for Holland, where he published a novel entitled Hectisch (Hectic!) set in the low-life underworld of Cape Town's Sea Point. He has exhibited digital paintings at Cape Town's AVA Gallery and now lives in Johannesburg, where he is studying for his driver's license!

Shot on stark black and white Kodak Plus X super 8mm film by Wiro Felix, one of Holland's foremost cinematographers, Western 4.33 was praised for its powerful visual style, as well as its remarkable sound design by Jane Snijders.

Kaganof, who spent three years working on the film, describes it as "a labour of love, for the desert, and for Africa".

Western 4.33 will have its South African debut at the NSA Gallery at 20h00 on August 5 as part of The Staging of the Artist as the Work Itself, a large-scale exhibition of Kaganof's recent digital paintings. The exhibition, which will run for three weeks, will feature collaborations with Durban-based artists such as Syd Kitchen and Helge Janssen, Cape Town artists Nicola Deane and the performance groups Virgins and Die Kaksusters. The exhibition will run until August 18.




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