Screened at Rapid Lion International Film Festival, the wonderful feature length documentary, 1001 Days purports to present through a series of intimate and at times, uncomfortable conversations, a searing, emotional snapshot of motherhood in Alexandra, a township in South Africa during the crucial first three years of a baby's life. 

A red-eye flight from London brought me to Oliver Tambo International airport in Johannesburg as a guest of the 9th RapidLion South African International Film Festival in March 2023 and one of the first and most captivating films I caught was the feature length South African/UK documentary 1001 Days.

Whilst attending the 9th RapidLion South African International Film Festival ostensibly to watch films, I was also keen to see what the infamous city of Johannesburg has to offer. Of course the many cafe bars and restaurants of the uber trendy Melville and Parkhurst suburbs hold attraction but I also wanted to get a taste of the history, politics and flavour of one of South Africa's most iconic cities.

A special presentation at the 66th BFI London Film Festival, Ruben Östlund’s Palme D’Or-winning feature film has spectators still navigating their way out of a triangle of wry humour, the currency of allure, and reflections on that thin line between the cynicism of abuse of power and what a potential re-distribution of power can lead to.

Carla Simón’s semi-autobiographical second feature film bears the name of a rural city in Catalonia, the aroma of ripe peach orchards, the picturesque vistas of fertile countryside and the nostalgia of an organic paradise which has not been fully explored yet is on the brink of becoming a vague memory.

As another successful edition of the BFI London Film Festival has recently drawn to a close, numerous thoughts spring to mind about the most meaningful way to approach editorially the film festival itself and the unique cultural ecosystem it nurtures, both as a concept and curatorial practice promoting film culture in a particular time and place.

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