South African Berlin-based filmmaker Teboho Edkins’s cross-genre documentary Western, Days of Cannibalism, will have its joint African Premiere at the Encounters South African Documentary Film Festival tonight, Friday 28 August at 8pm, and at the Durban International Film Festival from 10 to 20 September.
Days of Cannibalism, which had its World Premiere at the Berlinale International Film Festival in February, is set in the rugged terrain of a remote rural region in the mountain kingdom of Lesotho. Here modern-day pioneers are met with unease by local communities, and self-made Chinese merchants negotiate their place alongside traditional Basotho cattle breeders.
‘The film, like a classical Western, takes place in a universal frontier space in which the laws of society are in a state of flux,” says Edkins. “I am fascinated by the notion of settlers moving into new spaces, and what this does to the status quo, especially within the context of globalisation and capitalist forces. The arrival of new settlers in Lesotho – economic migrants from China – has upset the balance of power. Old laws and old gods are being called into question. Against the backdrop of a newly emerging China-Africa relationship Days of Cannibalism explores the complexities and the latent tensions this encounter gives rise to.”
The film avoids central characters or an overarching plot. Instead, strained moments and small gestures between the newly arrived pioneers and local communities unfold against a vast and harsh landscape.
Produced by KinoElektron, Day Zero Films, and Kepler Film, the world sales rights for Days of Cannibalism have been picked up by Paris-based Indie Sales.
To watch the film, book a free ticket from https://virtual.encounters.co.za/film/days-of-cannibalism/. Tickets are limited, so booking is essential. The film is followed by a Q&A with Teboho, which is also free but tickets are also limited. The film is available for 24 hours from 8pm.