April 23, 2015
March 11, 2015
February 23, 2015
1. Do you think film can be didactic in a good way?
They say, I reiterate, THEY SAY that the Cro-Magnon man may have carved rock paintings to legitimise those images of plants and animals ‘suitable’ for eating and in other strokes depicting the poisonous and deadly ones. I am not sure if it is ‘truth’, but I found that interesting. And when those carved images danced in the flickering light of a furnace scattering lessons to the observers, would not that be the ultimate didactic method that would serve a collective memory, at least not for dogma, but a ‘knowledge’ of how to preserve and be preserved by life? The didactic, I think, in this scenario of dancing paintings against rocks is but that cautionary element added into a collective memory about what is poisonous or not. If it prevents more members of the species from eating poison mushrooms, then that member’s part is done after the 99 monkeys that ate those poisonous mushrooms. So I believe film to be an attempt to bear record of memory characteristically shared by a group of people, the meanings of which can be maintained and transformed across time.
2. What is this need to document? Of what use is it?
I always loved the idea of memory ‘in its flawed nature’ as an apparatus of compartmentizing memory, serving as a document that validates an existence in time/space of an event or phenomenon. But to further the idea, was the elucidation that each set of eyes, or any compendium of the six/seven senses as ascribed to each individual, serve a greater memory pool of a species… so I would like to think that it is essentially the calling of each breath of life that we continually deposit ‘our’ perspectives of ‘life’ into that memory bank of a species that wants to remember itself. In a way I acquiesce that life experiences itself through us, so we must try and be as accurate as ‘humanly’ possible.
3. Can film be a means of historical elucidation, an apparatus for constructing truth?
If one has to attempt explicating on past methods of thoughts regarding what constitutes ‘reality’ or ‘truth’ and ‘self-awareness’, I believe we have a lot to abandon under the influence of new intellectual paradigms which have transformed how we ‘see’ the pinnacle ‘self’ in an age of capitalist greed and self-serving social constructs and an ever evolving technological revolution which will in itself define what ‘real’ is. I would rather answer the question with a number of questions which are as follows. Is truth solely a construct, or are we to discard all notions of ‘truth-in-itself’ Schopenhauer wrote about? Can THAT truth be documented through individualised vantage points? Can one human being experience all of ‘life’ within a supreme singularity? Was the cave painting a construct of truth? Were all the other animals ready to be eaten because the viewers of the cave painting could not ‘validate’ the truth depicted? Did our species then follow the logic that the hundredth money was wrong and many depleting their own species and life on earth based on dietary addictions?
4. Is South Africa a productive field for film today? In what way? How would you describe the film scene here?
I think our industry is one of the under-rated corporate media institutions in the world, devised solely for the advance of a great variety of memory censorships and agenda which one might burn bridges for speaking about, either through film or any other tool of expression. But, one cannot deny that the country has entered a rapidly changing global mind which has transformed a number of generations in the country. The new minds, so to speak, have a lot to offer the content necessary, but on a never to be paid for basis. We will have to sell our films for peanuts to some fifteen channels brought on by digital migration, when broadcasters, who still don’t have enough money to fill their present channels, being under pressure to fill 20 channels instead of, for instance three, will have to exploit content makers who will also be overtly desperate for fiscal returns on investments. So, the traditional ways of capitalising on South African experiences are approaching a turning point for the worst, where ‘monetising truth’ will also take centre-stage. The more blatantly true your film is, their ‘construct of truth’, as you called it, will have to take the budget. Truth is silenced in nearing years of our inauguration into a world of chaos, since we have been inducted in global intergenerational tyranny.
5. What is the role of music in film?
I once read an article analysing auditory hallucinations suffered by a variety of patients exhibiting various symptom of psychosis. One observation that stayed in my mind was about a phenomenon where blind patients seemed to hear other frequencies better that the ‘sighted’ patients, possessing a heightened ability for the aural. I found that peculiarly interesting because it seemed to imply that there exists ‘a sort of pairing’ of any two senses, whose connections seemed to claim a polarity with other sense at some primordial level. I figured, perhaps ‘images’ are ‘music for the eyes’ and ‘sound’ is but ‘visions for the ear’. Perhaps, I am also speculating that when one loses their sense of taste, their sense of smell becomes heightened; even when this postulation is too immature for a mere reader and no specialist in the field of psychology.
6. What can film tell us about Marikana? What can film do with Marikana? With “democracy” after Marikana?
Oh fathers and mothers, our life’s blood… What is memory without…
What incestuous decisions and compromises our struggle stalwarts succumbed to in order for us to bloodlet and be collateral damage for those who perhaps lodged five bullets into Dulcie September’s head?
I see the strewn carcasses of our fathers at foothills to mansions breeding shafts.
And I remember Hani. Tarmac to where they can reach us most is clear, but painted with fallen stars, crimson like souls bled.
Film can make Marikana a spectacle for intellectual analysis financed by capitalist military industrial complex waged against people of colour around the world.
Or expose the expense of human mortality for fertilising the blossoming of terror on earth.
Booming economies and their ties to future disasters bred by sensationalised lusts, while paid for by visuals of dead black men being the financial piggy bank for a global media propaganda cult, will suffer a great historical amnesia concocted through film.
Film can be a lobotomizing tool in the ever pervasive project of censoring memory.
Imagine how much rationalizations and fiction were concocted to be known ‘truths’ about those commemorated days in the annals of our historic struggle for liberation.
Film will be a librarian’s transcript of edited speeches uttered by CEO’s of mining conglomerates making excuses for a system that enforces a colonialism of the future – solely based on politics of the stomach.
Film will make the proverbial act of ingesting oneself as palatable as images of dead Palestinian children edited into ‘format’ within montages of dead black male bodies and pets mangled with stories of sorrow.
But I hope, film can expose the evils of capitalism as expressed through the massacre without making society live complacently with those evils.
November 27, 2014
November 10, 2014
October 19, 2014
October 17, 2014
October 15, 2014
South African documentary filmmaker Francois Verster’s long-awaited new film THE DREAM OF SHAHRAZAD has been selected for the prestigious Masters programme of the 2014 edition of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA). The highly regarded documentary festival describes this section as “present[ing] the cream of the crop of new films by renowned documentary auteurs such as Frederick Wiseman, Victor Kossakovsky and Kim Longinotto.” This year, Verster’s film will be shown alongside new works by Wim Wenders, Albert Maysles, Les Blank, Julien Temple, Nick Broomfield, Joshua Oppenheimer and Frederick Wiseman. It is the first time that a South African filmmaker has been included in the section.
THE DREAM OF SHAHRAZAD, described by early viewers as a documentary masterpiece and already hailed in Egypt as one of the best films about the country’s past few years, looks at recent political events in Egypt and Turkey through the lens of the famous story collection known as THE 1001 NIGHTS. At once observational documentary, concert film and political essay, it uses the metaphor of Shahrazad (the princess who saves lives by telling stories) to explore how creativity and political articulation coincide in response to oppression. A Turkish youth orchestra conductor uses Rimsky-Korsakov’s SCHEHERAZADE suite as a tool for political education. A young Lebanese actress reconciles her past by becoming an internet activist in Egypt. An older visual artist finds his “dream of Shahrazad” in the appearance of a beautiful young storyteller. An Alexandrian storyteller meets with the mothers of martyrs of the Revolution and turns their testimonies into new storytelling performances.
Development on the film began in 2006 already, and filming took place over two years between 2010 and 2012 – before, during and after the so-called “Arab Spring”. Says Verster: “This has been the film that has taken the most time and has been most difficult to complete – the challenge was not only to film in three foreign countries where I did not at first speak any of the language, but also to construct a film around a specific piece of music, where documentary reality had to be fitted to a predetermined form. The film started with very little means, but we made amazing contacts as we went along and the film grew organically into its final form. We kept returning to Egypt over the year following the January 2011 revolution, and being able to explore all the immense changes happening through friends and subjects there was one of the most fascinating and enriching experience of my life.”
While the film was largely self-funded, further funding contributions came from the South African National Film & Video Foundation, the IDFA/Bertha Fund, the Sundance Documentary Fund, Spier Films, the CBA Worldview Fund, the Netherlands Film Fund and the European Union.
The film is produced by Verster and Shameela Seedat of Undercurrent Film and Television, Wael Omar of Middlewest Films and Neil Brandt of Fireworx Media, and coproduced by Fleur Knopperts and Denis Vaslin of Volya Films (Netherlands), Lucas Rosant of Melia Films (France), and Serene Huleileh and Reem Abu Kishek of the Hakaya Regional Network (Jordan). Verster best known previous films include A LION’S TRAIL, WHEN THE WAR IS OVER, THE MOTHERS’ HOUSE and SEA POINT DAYS.
For further information please contact:
Shameela Seedat – firstname.lastname@example.org
Alaa Karkouti – email@example.com
Abdallah Al Shami – firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information on the IDFA Masters section, see
Heather Millard – email@example.com
October 11, 2014
this review first published here: http://myoldaddiction.com/2014/10/07/impunity/
September 14, 2014
first published here: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/impunity-toronto-review-732283
July 2, 2014
June 24, 2014
keep reading this article here: http://www.timeslive.co.za/thetimes/2014/06/06/cold-harbour-for-kgoroge
June 6, 2014
June 4, 2014
April 26, 2014
April 7, 2014
April 6, 2014
keep reading this review here: http://www.mahala.co.za/movies/four-corners-3/
March 30, 2014
February 6, 2014
February 2, 2014
keep reading this article here:http://mg.co.za/article/2014-01-30-insights-into-an-exotic-culture
January 28, 2014
the opening prayer in the documentary ‘ inconsolable memory’ when this old lady is summoning the higher being to give truth to the project, the plight of the eoan group is quite touching. the documentary soundtrack, the japanese pianist tomoko mulaiyama, gives the documentary a majestic and haunting elegance.
on the subject itself i should say i find the film to be quite enlightening . it kind of want to say we are all on the same page when it comes to prejudice. the visuals of the yesteryear district six, the children playing in the street, a jolly good drunk fellow who is teased by the bunch of kids in the street kind of set the film tone towards the path of truth . to console your memories you have to drown your self to alcohol..the struggles of the eoan group is a struggle that almost all of us in sa have experienced. the beauty though of the documentary is that it is not only highlighting the struggles of the eoan group as the coloured race but deeper it pins and pierces through the struggles of the arts in both past and present south africa. it is only through the arts that we can , or begin to understand the ways of a society.
the eoan group it seems were the force to be reckon with when it comes to opera music but because of a cruel system that deprived them of the free expression they were instead labelled as collaborators , a stigma that everyone is afraid to be associated with.it is unfortunate that the colour card has to go to extremes as to even create hatred amongst the community itself , perhaps the divide and rule system.
memory has no colour , as i contemplate on this idea i am reminded by the plight of the white people (perhaps very few) who were also caught in this race fracas . those who were deprived of free movement in their “own” country and by their own elected “government” . maybe it is because unknowingly they collaborated in voting for that oppressive and fascist rule. the inconsolable memory is telling us how to destroy arts entirely . arts is the reflection of a society and as such it evokes many feelings such as envy, pride , discipline etc and those are the qualities that shape society’s political expression.disdaining of the eoan group can be reminiscent of the nazi rule in germany . in order to survive in an evil idea one has to build clandestine of a token privilegded. of which those would be the oppressed.therefore i find it very hard to classify the eoan group contribution in shaping this country’s socio-politics nor towards the upliftment and advancement of the arts . were they collaborators (i don’t know) were they cultural activists ( i don’t know). whatever the case here is a tell tale of a heritage almost forgotten and erased from the archives of our cultural thoughts
memory is cost. perhaps this one area that we all fail to look at when we come to archiving . it was an alarming distress to learn that during the making of this documentary nfvf refused funding of this project with reasons that we can not understand . maybe it is because of what coloured people often lament and i can quote them clearly ,’ during the apartheid times we were not white enough to be classified as white people but now is the black rule and still we are not black enough to be classified as black people’. this is a sad and painful remark to think of . it is even more sad when you see it happening practically even in times of democratic rule.in 1996 during the acceptance of the first post-apartheid constitution mr tm mbeki on behalf of the anc made a powerful and oratory speech . in his speech he laid bear the hardships and struggles of the coloured race(the khoi and the san descendants) and how they were the first to suffer under colonial rule and ultimately lost their dignity . but now with this nfvf action it kind of inflicting on that wound.
memory is legacy – having been following the works of aryan kaganof from his previous projects it is clear that we are dealing with someone who is in state of hysteria , someone who is helplessly distressed by the erosion of arts in south africa , someone who is constantly and consistently banging on the doors of those who claim to be the custodians of arts but regrettably get no answer.his works are about preservation of legacies to reclaim our human dignity and to contribute an authentic, original and geniune gift to world cultures.
the photographic memories of ian bruce huntley on his recently launched book keeping times further emphasis of the importance of memory produces a perfect parallel and suitably vindicates the case of aryan kaganof.
as sometimes painful as the circumstances may be, memory heals. at times hidden, memory builds. controversial at points , it leads to healthy debates.whatever the case
memory is GOOD