Namibian Premiere: "State of Violence" by Khalo Matabane, Sat 29.10.2011, 19h, Studio 77, Windhoek

In the framework of the monthly filmseries “African Perspectives”, AfricAvenir Windhoek presents the Namibian Premiere of the movie, “State of Violence" by Khalo Matabane who delivers a potent drama about a South African corporate leader whose past as a violent revolutionary comes back to threaten him. The film will be released in cinemas on 28 September 2011 in South Africa.

State of Violence
Directed by Khalo Matabani, 2010, South Africa/France, 79 min, English, Zulu, and Tsositaal with English subtitles

Date: 29. October 2011, Time: 19h00
Venue: Studio 77, Old Breweries Complex, entrance Garten Str.
Entrance: 20,- N$

About the film
In his follow-up to “Conversations on a Sunday Afternoon”, Khalo Matabane delivers a potent drama about a South African corporate leader whose past as a violent revolutionary comes back to threaten him.

In this new take on a tale of revenge, the story captures the fast-changing social, racial and economic forces that prevail in the present day South Africa. Bobedi, a 35-year-old black businessman, goes on a journey through Johannesburg in a quest to avenge his wife’s attack.

The film deals with issues of vengeance, race, class, family division, history and memory and ultimately it is a film about reconciliation and those who refuse to forgive. It is not a film about easy answers but choices that people make and the consequences of those choices.

Director’s Comment
“'State of Violence' is part of a trilogy of films, which began with the ultra low budget 'Conversations on a Sunday Afternoon'. The trilogy consists of films that, while set in the specific location and atmosphere of South Africa, speak of topical issues affecting the world at large. The next film will be about religion.
Violence has become an emotional issue in the country. I have heard and engaged in discussions from dinner tables to street corners, from the suburbs, townships and prisons. I cannot think of any topic that dominates the media than the issue of violence.

I have experienced acts of violence, from twice being hijacked, to friends and family members being shot at or beaten up and killed. I have personally tried to understand the nature of violence and realized that it is not just about poverty but it is deeper. There are other countries poorer than South Africa with far less violence. It is not just simply the violence, but the brutal nature of it.  My interest in violence goes beyond just the guys who hold up a store, hijack a car, rape or cops killing their families and then themselves, to intense racial incidents of a racist white male who claimed to have killed a young black boy because he thought he was a baboon.

This film explores the issue of violence, reaching beyond the superficial news clippings and magazine images that populate our media saturated environment to penetrate deeper into the fabric of society, to show the phenomenon of violence as something that is rooted deeply in our historical past.

The African psychiatrist Franz Fanon said that Colonization is Violence and the history of South Africa is one that is deeply rooted in violence. Apartheid was a violent act and so South African society has been shaped by violence for much of its existence. We have known violence and seen its effects for generations. Violence under Apartheid was evident in all aspects of the struggle from the State of Emergency, the killings, torture and arrests of activists by the police to the killing of informants in the townships and the response by young people to the injustices of the system.

The violent act that the main character, Bobedi experiences, forces him to escape his comfort zone of his suburban life. Like me, he lives in a predominantly old Jewish neighborhood.  He embarks on a journey into the underbelly of Johannesburg, a harsh and brutal landscape full of contradictions. The few exceptionally wealthy people who lock themselves in gated communities with security guards and electric fences provide a stark contrast to the rest of the population who are the wretched of the earth. The dream of forging national reconciliation and a just and equitable society has failed and Johannesburg is a place of broken dreams where dog eats dog. It is a city of greed where money buys the characters almost anything except their souls.

Bobedi's journey forces him to realize that despite the fact that his life has changed as part of the new black middle class, the majority of black people are still struggling. In one of the scenes, while he is searching for his mother, he finds her in a protest march against poverty. This is something which his father and later he himself, fought for during apartheid; the need to create a just society. His father was hanged by the apartheid system for his political activities but Bobedi was able to become part of the elite black middle class thanks to his political history and has so enjoyed the comforts of that life that he has forgotten the reality in which most of his people live.

I argue that the solution to violence is a political one, the need to recognize our own contributions to violence and that unless we create a just and equitable society, the violence will continue to affect all of us.”

Media Statements
“From one of South Africa's most promising filmmakers, this is a complex meditation on the nature of vengeance and violence.”
– Alex Sudheim, Mail& Guardian

About the director
Khalo Matabane has directed a number of films about South African issues, including the shorts “Poetic Conversations” (1996) and “Love in a Time of Sickness” (2001), as well as the documentaries “Two Decades Still” (1996), The Waiters” (1997), “Young Lions” (1999) and “Story of a Beautiful Country” (2004). He also directed the feature “Conversations on a Sunday Afternoon” (2005). Matabane’s long awaited follow-up “State of Violence” (2010) shows him maturing as a filmmaker, even as he pushes into darker and even more dangerous territory. State of Violence is his second feature film.

Filmography
1996 - Poetic Conversations (cm)
1996 - Two Decades Still (doc)
1997 - The Waiters (doc)
1999 - Young Lions (doc)
2001 - Love in a Time of Sickness (cm)
2004 - Story of a Beautiful Country (doc)
2005 - Conversations on a Sunday Afternoon
2007 – When we were black ( TV series)
2010 - State of Violence

In cooperation with Studio 77, Bank Windhoek Arts Festival, Indigenous Film Distribution, WhatsOnWindhoek, & the FNCC.

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