6 South African films to participate at the Berlin Film Festival

The 65th annual Berlin International Film Festival is scheduled to be held from 5 to 15 February 2015. The festival is the largest public film festival in the world and around 400 films will be shown. Among those films are 6 South African films, which will screen in various sections of the film festival.

Unogumbe will appear in the Berlinale Shorts section and is a modern take on the story of Noah's family and the building of the ark. A fresh interpretation of the original is that Noah is a woman. She has to keep the family together, deal with her alcoholic husband, and what's more, build the ark. Director Mark Dornford-May, featuring Pauline Malefane, Mhlekazi Mosiea, Mandisi Dyantyis, Chumisa Dornford-May and Simphiwe Mayeki.

Coming of Age is a film that follows teenagers over the course of two years as they grow up deep in the southern African mountain kingdom of Lesotho. Very little happens in the village of Ha Sekake, but from their perspective, a lot is at stake. Lefa, who wears her heart on her sleeve, sees her world fall apart when her best friend Senate leaves the village. She too must decide whether to stay or leave in search of a better education and new opportunities. Retabile takes care of the family's livestock up in a remote cattle post, for eight months of the year. He is helped by his younger brother Mosaku, who watches as Retabile goes through a rite of passage that will mark his transition into manhood. The summer of youth is quickly over, doors into adulthood open and close. This film will appear in the Generation competition 14plus section and is directed byr Teboho Edkins

iBhokhwe is scheduled to feature in the Generation section. It tells the story of Ukwaluka which is an ancient circumcision ritual for young men still widely practiced by the Xhosa in South Africa. It marks the transition from youth to manhood. A boy who has just undergone circumcision sits in semi-darkness in a simple hut on a hill, far away from the village, as prescribed by the initiation ritual. He is covered from head to toe with a paint made from clay which makes him look as white as a goat. This should be a period of healing, but he is cold and in pain. His grandfather, who is supposed to induct him into his new life, has not yet appeared. According to the belief system of the Xhosa, Ukwaluka also purges the boy from homosexual desires, for which there is no place in the world of adults. Director John Trengove and cast; Thando Mhlontlo, Nkosipendule Cengani, Hlangi Vundla and Mbasa Tsetsana.

Layla Fourie tells the story of Layla, a young polygraphist, who is given the opportunity to get proper employment in a company specialising in the business of lie-detection and security. As a single mother, Layla is forced to take her son Kane with on her journey. As they head into the country, to what Layla hopes will be the beginning of a real life, an accident happens. Yet from this moment on, their lives will never be the same. A web of lies and deception become firmly wrapped around this young mother and son and as their trust is be put to the test, it is perhaps just a matter of time before the truth tears them apart. Layla Fourie will feature in the German Cinema - Lola@Berlinale section. The director is Pia Marais and cast include; Rayna Campbell, August Diehl and Rapule Hendricks

Joe Bullet, directed by Louis de Witt will form part of The 2015 Special Screenings. The 1973 gangster film is inspired in equal measure by the black pop culture of the time and the American Blaxploitation genre. Louis de Witt's action-packed film about a manipulated cup final was one of the first to be shot with an all-black cast. Joe Bullet offered its audiences a vision of life that did not correspond to the reality of most black South Africans under Apartheid. Although the film was not overtly political, it was swiftly banned and not screened for an extended period of time. Now this unique work has been restored and can be shown once again. The film stars Ken Gampu, Joe Lopez and Abigail Kubeka.

Necktie Youth will feature in the Panaroma section of the festival and chronicles a day in the life of best friends Jabz and September, two hyper-Americanised Zulu boys, as they go on a drug-fuelled joyride through Joburg's affluent suburbs. The film is directed by Sibs Shongwe-La Mer and stars; Bonko Cosmo, Sibs Shongwe-La Mer, Colleen Balchin, Kamogelo Moloi, Emma Tollman, Jonathan Young, Giovanna Winetzki, Ricci-Lee Kalish and Michael Hall.



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