The Art of Fallism, a documentary film set in South Africa, directed by Aslaug Aarsæther and Gunnbjörg Gunnarsdóttir follows several ‘’fallist’’ movements. The movements are so named because they trace their origins to a decolonising struggle that protested the removal of a Cecil Rhodes (colonial British politician) statue from the university of Cape Town.
The fulminant campaign trended the hashtag #RhodesMustFall on several social media platforms and even after the statue was removed from campus, sparked a series of protests and movements that sought to decolonise the education structure in South Africa.
It looked like relative success from the outside but from within, the fallist movements ignited by a diverse group of students continued to struggle and revolt. Why? The students soon discovered within their ranks that the oppressor isn’t necessarily limited to white colonialism. Factors like politics, economic situation, and sexual identities were equally as divisive and when badly managed, caused further harm.
In a journalistic manner that sometimes comes off as information overload lacking stylistic dynamism, the filmmakers chronicle the external and internal struggles long after the statue had come down. Some of these valid concerns include prohibitive fees that block less privileged students from accessing education, misogyny, sexism, homophobia and transphobia.
A couple of larger questions are thus raised; how to avoid the sins of erasure in struggles such as #RhodesMustFall? How are LGBTQI folks depicted in the media coverage that arises from protests? How are men considered viz a viz women and other non-binary folks when attempts are made to document contributions? Do all students have access to bourgeois discussions happening in inteligencia exclusive circles on campus?
This kind of intersectionality reveals a lot about the complexity of our modern world. It often happens that even when two people belong to the same marginalized group, one of them can be more privileged than the other. Without deliberate and conscious attempts to always check these inequalities, it is unlikely that any sustainable attempt at inclusivity can occur.
The Art of Fallism can be viewed free online at the Durban International Film Festival until 20 September
click here: https://www.durbanfilmfest.com/film/the-art-of-fallism/
This review emanates from the Talent Press, an initiative of Talents Durban in collaboration with the Durban FilmMart. The views of this article reflect the opinions of the film critic, Mohamed Tarek.
Mohamed Moawad (Egypt) a film critic and programmer, who writes for online websites, print newspapers and magazines such as Ida2at, El Film Magazine and Daily News Egypt. In addition to this, he served in different positions in various film festivals such as the programmer of the Mexican retrospective and the Q&A coordinator at Cairo International Film Festival (2019), head of Arabic publications at El Gouna Film Festival (2019-2020). He also manages the cinema project held by El Nahda association for cultural renaissance. The project includes two independent film schools in Cairo and Upper Egypt. He is currently working on his first short film project as a producer.