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HomeentertainmentMovie News'Milisuthando' review: A poetic meditation on complex South African history

'Milisuthando' review: A poetic meditation on complex South African history

“I have to be careful how I remember my memory.”

Director Milisthando Bongela opens up her nitpicking documentary Milisthando this Shrewd manifesto. It is her invitation, announcement, and guiding principle for her poetic meditation on a childhood affected by the violence of apartheid in South Africa. Under Bongela’s guidance, memory is flexible power. They stretch into the past, haunt the present and dive into the future.


bottom line Demonstrates how to confront history and complex heritage.

Place: Sundance Film Festival(World Film Documentary Competition)Director: Milisthando Bongela

2 hours 8 minutes

Bongela sifts through her memories and collects them along with the memories of her ancestors and other members of Generation C South Africa). She observes them with keen responsibility, interrogates them tenderly, and then shapes them into narratives that are tender and intimate. Milisuthando is a long journey that begins and ends at Transkei, an apartheid project to accommodate Xhosa-speaking blacks who were denied South African citizenship.

Bongela and DP and editor Hankyeol Lee have marvelously stitched together and enhanced archival footage to portray this history. Throughout the film, they document how apartheid representatives tried to sell the formation of the Transkei and other black ‘homelands’ (as they called them) to the world, and how the government sent Xhosa into these spaces in the early days’ and how residents in turn create their own communities. These montages—gristy, revealing, and sometimes disturbing—shroud the screen or are framed in whimsical backdrops (similar to the pages of a scrapbook). Occasionally, they’re backed up by a soaring orchestral score or a haunting syncopated breathy chorus.

The documentary begins with Bangla’s childhood in the Transkei. In voiceover, the director recounts how she was on a “suggested diet” as a child and stories that make it seem like she didn’t experience segregation. After all, she grew up in an all-Black neighborhood, and she never experienced a segregated facility or a police attack on her dog. But the older she got, the more she realized that just because she stayed away from the most explicit violence didn’t mean she wasn’t “in the middle of a dirty experiment.”

Bongela’s language lends an edge to melody and powerful imagery, turning standard exposition into a literary experience. Milisuthando

The first of five parts in includes the most recent Footage of Bongela’s grandmother hanging out at the former Transkei home and photos of the documentary filmmaker as a child. Conversations with her elders confronted more complex nostalgia directly, as her grandmother accused Nelson Mandela of ruining Transkei. (The nominally independent state was dissolved in at the official end of apartheid.) Through these moments, Bangla effectively established the

Tensions at the center of Milisuthando: How do you deal with the brutal historical undercurrents of the place you call home?

This question – perennial capitalism in a world that revolves around organizing – leads us to the subsequent sections, chapters that relate to the formation of the Transkei and the flourishing propaganda of Bangla’s youth Compete. Here, the director creates a refreshing sense of comfort through experimentation. Of the documentaries at Sundance this year, where Bongela’s film premiered in the World Cinema Documentary Competition, Milisuthando embodies the best of form, exploiting its freedom and potential.

The quick transition between past and present forms the second half of Milisuthando, which focuses on between two time frames and on ego and history Encounters Between. Bongela interviews Generation Model C students and juxtaposes their conservative responses as adults with the jubilation of the post-apartheid era. Video of news interviews with black schoolchildren and parents reveals layers of racism against them by white broadcasters . Mandela’s memory has come under scrutiny, calling into question the total reverence he received at the height of his popularity among black and white South Africans. Bongela also interviewed her white South African friends about the role that the legacy of race and apartheid played in their self-understanding. Again, Lee and Bongela’s editorial choice—superimposing the recording onto a black screen—subtly amplifies these frictions against history. Bongella makes brief on-screen appearances, one of which reads an essay about the early days of school integration that teases out the violent undercurrent of black kids entering these previously all-white spaces.

Milisuthando is an ambitious project that bluntly tackles the mess we call identity, trying to do it without giving in to pretense respect for their diversity. At just over two hours, the film is filled with history, painful truths, impressive revelations and Poetic meditation by Bongela. The final scene of the film – documenting wider South African history and focusing on Xhosa ritual and cultural heritage – takes us back to what was formerly the present-day area of ​​the Transkei. With the knowledge that Bongela so generously provided us, the landscape takes on a different meaning, exuding a more complex energy. Yes, we leave behind mixed feelings, but also gifts, a model of how to travel between past, present and future.

Full credits 70

Venue: Sundance Film Festival (World Film Documentary Competition) Production companies: Early Hours, Multititude Films, Viso Producciones Director: Milisuthando Bongela Producer: Marion Isaacs Executive Producers: Jessica Devaney, Anya Rous, Charlotte Cook, Brenda Robinson Photographer: Hankyeol Lee Editor: Hankyeol Lee

Composer: Neo Muyanga, Msaki (Asanda Lusaseni)
Sales: Cinetic

English, Xhosa

2 hours 8 minutes

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