Thursday, July 26, 2012

The river used to be a man" by Jan Zabeil

The river used to be a man
The film which was predominantly shot in Botswana has received raving reviews from all over the globe  (Toronto, France, German, Mexico) and the Director received the Best New Director Award in Spain. According to the Toronto film festival, Europe's engagement with the developing world  has powered some of its most compelling recent films. Within that, there's a particular strain brewing that explores Germany's bond with Africa.  On a still waterway, a white man (Alexander Fehling) lounges in a dugout canoe. Using a long pole, an old African man steers the European through the watery landscape, willing to fulfill his passenger's fantasy of losing himself in Africa, but only at a price. In what appear to be innocent questions, he cuts to the core of the traveller's crisis: the European is an actor, in a place where being an actor means nothing. The river used to be a man: it's a simple, declarative statement that is logically impossible but also, in this particular patch of rural Africa, deeply meaningful. This is the dilemma that Zabeil holds in tension throughout the film: what can divination, memory and traditional belief mean to a man so far outside them? The movie will be screened at Motsana Complex, Maun  on the 30th July.

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