This Black History Month Rave Cinema at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza hosted the Pan African Film Festival. This festival went on from February 4th-15th and showcases films from directors of color from all over the world. One of the films showcased at the festival was a picture by South African write, director, and actor, Charlie Vundla titled Cuckold.
Cuckold as defined by Webster’s Dictionary is the husband of an adulteress, often regarded as an object of derision. This title is a sure fit for the film which follows the day to day life of a man who is left by his wife, due to his infertility, for another man.
The film begins with the main character, Smanga (played by director Vundla), in a state of depression due to the loss of his wife. Smanga, a recently fired university professor of paleo-anthropology, is seen drowning his sorrows in alcohol, drugs and prostitutes. As an aid to his battle of self-control, he allows an old friend and coincidental life coach, John, played by Louis Roux, to room at his home and help him get his life on track.
The emotional journey of Smanga and John is one that will leave any audience captivated by its stretching of the boundaries of trust and friendship. Although the films plot does not follow the conventional western style of development, this film is still one that will keep audience quite entertained.
In an after-screening Q&A with the director, Vundla told the audience to “not over-intellectualize the film,” but it can be taken that this movie is a metaphor for South Africa’s treatment of native Africans. Like many of the other films in the festival, the subject matter is controversial in a boundary pushing way. This film allowed the viewer a new perspective on a situation that plagues many: temptation and infidelity.
This film and others like it that played at #PAFF this year will in large part not make it to theaters nationally, so it’s important the community supports them to ensure more of their kind will see the light. Art films are an important part of film culture and events like the Pan African Film Festival help to facilitate the exposure that they need to maintain their place in the industry. In short, without the viewers these films aren’t possible; so, if you didn’t get a chance to attend #PAFF this make sure you support the films that were showcased. You won’t be disappointed.