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The Cannes Film Festival, founded in 1946 as the International Film Festival, brings Hollywood movie stars and international cinema to the French Riviera annually. This year, the Cannes Film Festival took place from 8th-19th May with Cate Blanchett as the jury president and Shoplifters, directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda, took home the Palme d’Or. South Africa was fortunate enough to have these 6 films premier at the prestigious festival.

Rafiki

Co-produced by Steven Markovitz of South Africa and Afrobubblegum of Kenya, Rafiki tell the story of two teenage girls who fall in love in Kenya, a country where same sex relationships are illegal. Based on the 2007 winner of the Caine Short Story Prize, Jambula Tree, written by Monica Arac de Nyeko, Rafiki unfolds after the young girls are spied upon by a neighbour resting in a Jambula tree.

The Harvesters

Directed by Etienne Kallos, The Harvesters is based in an isolated and highly conservative farming community in rural South Africa. Janno grows up in an environment obsessed with strength and masculinity, but is emotionally fragile and different from his peers. One day, his mother brings home a hardened homeless orphan she is attempting to save and thus begins a struggle centred on power dynamics and parental love.

Miles from Nowhere

Directed by Samantha Nell, Miles from Nowhere is set in an old-age home in which conflicts over race reveal the weaknesses in the ‘Rainbow Nation’. Living comfortably amongst his own people in a Jewish retirement community likely enjoying occasional Australian sports betting, Ben’s reality is shattered when people of colour move in and the conflict which ensues between the residents and their children and grandchildren highlights the challenges of change.

The Colour of the Skull

Directed by Sibs Shingwe-La Mer, The Colour of the Skull is set in a post-Apartheid South Africa which has just been thrusted towards the verge of civil war as Nelson Mandela lies on his deathbed. As a puritanical Afrikaner community prepares for war against the neighbouring traditional Zulu settlement, two young men will be forced to bear the scars of a nation’s deepest shame.

Inxeba / The Wound

Directed by John Trengrove and produced by Elias Ribeiro and Cait Pansegrouw, Inxeba or The Wound tells the story of a tender love affair between two male Xhosa initiates. Set deep in the mountains of the Eastern Cape, isolated from loved ones and surrounded by outward displays of masculinity, when the young men’s best kept secret is revealed, their lives begin to unravel.

District Six Rising from the Dust

Directed by Weaam Williams, District Six Rising from the Dust is a documentary centred on a deeply personal story and scrutinises the intergenerational pain and the dispossession of wealth brought on by the forced removals from District Six, a suburb of Cape Town, which began in 1968.  During the course of the removals, 60,000 people were forced to relocate 25km away to the Cape Flats and District Six Rising from the Dust provides insight into nuanced moments within the Cape community.

Film