These are some of our recommended films to watch
A man named Pearl
There’s not much to see in tiny Bishopville, South Carolina until you come upon the yard of Pearl Fryar. A three-acre dreamscape of abstract topiary designs, Mr. Fryar’s yard is the town’s pride and its owner’s obsession. With no training other than a three-minute demonstration from a local hardware store, Mr. Fryar rescued discarded plants from the town nursery and painstakingly molded them into mind-boggling configurations. Neighbors doubted his sanity and nicknamed him Edward Scissorhands, but this modest and supremely patient son of a sharecropper persisted with his fantastical sculptures. Nowadays his work draws thousands of visitors a year and he even has a day named after him: quite a step up from his original goal to win Yard of the Month.

Assembled without frills or fuss, "A Man Named Pearl" is as much a portrait of a small Southern town as of an unassuming black folk artist. Aided by Fred Story’s jazzy score, the directors, Scott Galloway and Brent Pierson, keep things moving with appreciative comments from the financial and spiritual beneficiaries of Mr. Fryar’s talents (and from the female admirers who find his lithe, 68-year-old body every bit as interesting as his foliage). Those white families who, decades ago, rejected him as a neighbor because “black people don’t keep up their yards&rdquo must be weeping into their seed catalogs.

Director: Scott Galloway and Brent Pierson
Country: USA
Language: English
Genre: Documentary
Time: 78min
Year: 2006

A man named Pearl
Le Grand Voyage
A few weeks before his college entrance exams, Reda (Nicolas Cazale), a young man who lives in the south of France, finds himself obligated to drive his father to Mecca.

From the start, the journey looks to be difficult: Reda and his father (Mohamed Majd) have nothing in common. The wide cultural and generational gap between the two is worsened by the lack of communication between the two. Reda finds it hard to accommodate his father, who demands respect for himself and his pilgrimage.

From France, through Italy, Serbia, Turkey, Syria, Jordan to Saudi Arabia- the two will embark on a road trip to Mecca that will change their lives.

Director: Ismael Ferroukhi
From: France/ Morocco
Language: French/Arabic with English subtitles
Genre: Drama
Time: 108min
Year: 2006

Le Grand Voyage
Zulu love Letter
Thandeka's (Pamela Nomvete Marimbe) life is severely altered when she and her friend Mike are arrested after witnessing the murder of a young female activist: Mike, a photographer, is also killed, and Thandeka, pregnant at the time, is beaten so badly that her daughter is born deaf and mute. Years later, Thandeka is a journalist with writer's block who can't shake her personal demons, nor the gnawing sense of guilt that alienates her from her family.

Zulu Love Letter presents the desperate and emotional journey of two mothers searching for their daughters. Tormented by the haunting images and unrelenting grief of the past, single mother and journalist, Thandi has difficulty communicating with her estranged daughter, Mangi. Thirteen year old Mangi is deaf and dumb due to the beating that pregnant Thandi received at the same time that her friends, Mike and Dineo, were murdered by an Apartheid Squad. Mike and Dineo's fate pursues her, especially when Dineo's mother appears, requesting that Thandi testify before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Director: Ramadan Suleman
Country: South Africa
Language: English/Zulu
Genre: Drama
Time: 105min
Year: 2004

Zulu Love Letter
Faat Kine
Faat Kine is an unmarried woman with a daughter, Aby and son, Djip. A successful and sometimes ruthless businesswoman, Kine owns a petrol station and has achieved wealth and comfort for herself and her family. When Aby and Djip successfully pass their baccalaureates, they declare their desire to go abroad to continue their studies. Proud of their achievements, Faat Kine decides to arrange a celebration for them.

The event, however, reopens old wounds for Kine as the children’s absentee fathers reappear in her life, desiring to reconnect with the children. Aby’s father, Gaye, visits the petrol station to pass on his congratulations, causing Kine to relive how Gaye, as one of her high school teachers, seduced her and abandoned her after she became pregnant. She encounters Djip’s father, Boubacar, on the street. Now a broken man, Kine recalls how he swindled her after gaining her trust. Both these incidents have shaped the cynicism she feels towards men and society but have also contributed to her fierce sense of independence. Her faith is restored in the end by Djip, who demonstrates how her struggles have succeeded in making him a leader of the next generation.

Director: Ousmane Sembene
Country: Senegal
Language: French/Wolof with English subtitles
Genre: Documentary
Minutes: 121
Year: 2001

Faat Kine
Ayen’s Cooking School for African Men
In Sudan it is taboo for men to cook but when a group of refugee Sudanese men in Adelaide is found starving because they don’t know what to do with a fridge full of groceries, something has to change. Ayen Kuol, a Sudanese health worker decides to challenge culture and custom and start a cooking school for African men. At home, Ayen has four children and a very traditional husband. She has a full time job and studies part time. Ayen believes that if young boys watch their fathers relaxing while the women complete all the domestic chores then they will not be well served.

The women of Sudan do not allow their men into the kitchen. The older women in particular, need to be convinced that it is a good idea for men to share the domestic duties. Ayen discovers that changing their opinion is as difficult as getting the men to attend her cooking school. While Alier, a young Sudanese refugee believes “cooking, cleaning, washing the dishes, it’s the duty of your sister”, he admits that his own efforts in the kitchen taste terrible. Alier is one of the lost boys of Sudan. Many of the young men have grown up in refugee camps and in some cases have never seen Sudan. They have come to Australia without fathers or mothers, and are now living in houses on their own and there are no women to cook for them. Ayen wants to help these men rebuild their lives.

At first, no one turns up to Ayen’s class. Ayen and her friends wait in the kitchen, cooking porridge and discussing what is going on in their community. The men are too proud to be found anywhere near a pot. They fear that their manhood will be diminished if they cross the threshold of Ayen’s kitchen and that they will never find a wife if they can cook. Ayen decides to visit the young men and argue her case.

Director: Sieh Mchawala
Country: Australia/Sudan
Genre: Documentary
Time: 52 min
Year: 2008

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