Cue Online (Grahamstown)

4 July 2012

South Africa: Missing Out On World-Class Films

Photo: Cue
Stare if you dare

Oh how Shakespeare would have loved cinema!" the English film director Derek Jarman once said. But given some movie buffs' comments, he might have been the only one in the audience at this year's Festival.

"We went to a film last night, and there were three people in the theatre - I don't know how they survive on that," said André van der Merwe who is attnding his 12th Festival. "I think most people don't understand it. I think people who come to Grahamstown come specifically to see art, and shows, interactive things."

Luke Carstens is also making time to see films, but said he feels that movies are peripheral at Festival and could be more prominent.

Festival-goer Wendy Wilson said she is only here for a couple of days and is not making time to see films.

Trevor Steele Taylor, the curator of the Film Festival, said that some of the films have been well attended. The Wicker Tree and Another Earth are two examples.

"It's not a marginalised art form at all," Steele Taylor said. "It has the role of any other art, be it for entertainment or stimulating thought. The film section has always been on the Main programme, and is one of the important art forms."

The Film Festival comprises various sections, including the Polish series, a collection by Peter Watkins, premieres, as well as South African films.

Steele Taylor explained that he keeps abreast of the international scene and bases his choices on that. He admitted, however, that some festival-goers skip the film programme because they believe they can see many of the films at a later stage, at their convenience.

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