Documentary Cinema at its best.

Everything Must Fall, the hard-hitting, thought provoking documentary film that provides perhaps the best insight possible into the tumultuous events that disrupted university campuses around the country in 2016 will feature at the world’s largest documentary film festival in Amsterdam from November 15 to 25.  It will be part of a programme section entitled Frontline at the 30th annual International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA).

The film is also a feature at the current Johannesburg Film Festival that ends on November 17.  Everything Must Fall was directed by Rehad Desai, the guiding hand behind the multi award winning documentary about the Marikana massacre, Miners Shot Down.

This latest offering from Uhuru Productions traces how the opposition to a proposed increase in university tuition fees morphed into a host of democratic and egalitarian demands.  These spread rapidly to encompass the plight of the lowly paid and outsourced cleaning staff and the protest was joined by university bus drivers, campus security and several prominent academics. 

As the protests spread around the country, the initial demand about fees became “Fallism” with calls to scrap patriarchy, homophobia and capitalism.

Although the film focusses primarily on the Witwatersrand University campus it provides a more than adequate insight to the virtually revolutionary situation that erupted on campuses around the country.  It also raises the vexed issues of class and colour;  of non partisans politics, the role of bureaucracies, government and political parties; of the often neglected differences in attitude between students at the historically “white” and “black” universities.

Once again, the gross over-reaction of what remains an effectively paramilitary police force comes through strongly, although, unlike Marikana, it was rubber and not live rounds that were used.   In many ways reminiscent of the Arab Spring movement in Egypt, this latest record of an important aspect of our recent history opens up many crucial debates about the future, and not only at universities. 

Terry Bell
Inside labour
Fin24/City Press

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