Women claim their place in South Africa’s burgeoning film in­dus­try

ChinAfrica - - Cover Story - By sudeshna sarkar and Xia Yuanyuan

BE­ING a white South African didn’t make Sara Blecher part of a priv­i­leged com­mu­nity even dur­ing apartheid. “On my grand­fa­ther’s side we are Lithua­nian Jews and he was the only one who es­caped while the rest of the fam­ily was mur­dered dur­ing World War II,” she said. “Even though I am white, I am on the wrong side of his­tory.”

Some­thing else added to her strug­gles: her de­ci­sion to be­come a film di­rec­tor at a time when the South African film in­dus­try was dom­i­nated by men.

“To me, heaven was sit­ting in a movie the­ater and watch­ing movies,” Blecher de­scribed her child­hood, with her mother be­ing a the­ater di­rec­tor. “I never thought there was any other pos­si­bil­ity other than mak­ing films.”

Her films have a mav­er­ick el­e­ment. Though she speaks English, her three fea­ture films are in Zulu, Sotho and Afrikaans re­spec­tively - all of­fi­cial lan­guages in the coun­try. her 2015 story of a young girl who de­cided to restart her fa­ther’s garage, won the Jury’s Spe­cial Award at the Se­cond BRICS Film Fes­ti­val in Chengdu, south­west China’s Sichuan Prov­ince.

“I hope BRICS can show the world di­ver­sity and be a coun­ter­point to the Hol­ly­wood cul­ture where every­thing is the same,” she said. “In ad­di­tion, I hope to be a coun­ter­point to that cul­ture that cov­ers the world with Coca-cola and Mcdon­ald’s.”

For this, the mother of three feels it is im­por­tant to make films in other lan­guages than English. “The world is mul­ti­cul­tural and we have to talk to all that audi-

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