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Visceral viewing - Review of The Pipe

The Citizen

The Tri Continental Film Festival (TCFF) is South Africa’s only dedicated human rights film event.

The films that are selected every year are films that  promote democratisation, deepen understanding, and afford the marginalised a substantive voice.

Here are reviews of three films being shown at this year’s festival:

8/10 The Pipe (A)

The  beautiful  hills and rough tides of Broadhaven Bay on the west coast of Ireland  lure the viewer in, only to be suddenly  interspersed with angry  police arrest scenes.
This is the introduction to director Risteard Ó Domhnaill’s dramatic documentary The Pipe, an award- winning offering that follows a small community go up against Shell Oil in protest against a huge gas pipe (part of Shell’s Corrib Gas Pipeline) that is set to be laid across their lands. For Shell, the pipe promises prosperity, but should the pipe fail for any reason, it promises devastation  for the residents.

And so begins a 10-year David and Goliath type battle  that cameraman-turned-film-director Ó Domhnaill documents.

 Even though Shell refused to participate in the documentary or grant any interviews, Ó Domhnaill pulls his resources, using news snippets and personal interviews with various residents to get a well rounded picture of what consequences will follow should the pipe be laid.

The Pipe is an emotional journey  for viewers, and despite the upbeat conclusion of the Irish Planning Board deeming Shell’s pipe “unacceptable” on grounds of safety, it  remains especially resonant in light of the fact that this “little guy up against a big ruthless corporation” theme is one that is common.  

7/10 The age of stupid (A)

One of the first few words to come out of Pete Postlewaite’s mouth rings true for the rest of director Franny Armstrong’s documentary The Age of Stupid.

He looks into the camera from his Noah’s Ark-like pedestal and says: “We could have saved ourselves, but we didn’t.”

What follows is a snapshot of what the year 2055 will bring, should we continue living the materialistic lives we live – dramatic weather, a Sydney Opera House on fire, a vulture sitting outside a  devastated Taj Mahal.

 Her shock tactics work, engaging her audiences before embarking on a documentary that looks at  aspects of our lives and various industries driving these lifestyles forward.

Her subject matter speaks for itself and makes for an excellent and very sobering film.

6½/10 bariga boy (A)
 Femi Odugbemi’s film Bariga Boy documents not  only how art can be an instrument of social change, but also how all it takes is a will to create and something beautiful emerges out of nothing.

Viewers are treated to the story of how a band of street performers (from the inner city slums of Bariga in Lagos)  use dance, drama and music talk about their country’s politics and eventually become one of Nigeria’s most sought-after acts. 

Posted Date: 
7 September 2011