Poppie Nongena wins BRICS Film Festival

14 December 2020

As Russia’s presidency of BRICS draws to a close, the Embassy of Russia in South Africa hosted the screening of the movie ‘Poppie Nongena’ in Pretoria on Friday, 11 December. This South African movie won the main prize at the 5th BRICS Film Festival in October 2020 in Moscow.

In welcoming guests Alexander Arefiev, Press Attaché of the Embassy of Russia said, ‘It is safe to say that BRICS performance in 2020 is something truly inspiring. Amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, which almost dictates isolation from each other, BRICS remained united against all the odds. The five member countries lent each other a helping hand in the time of need proving that BRICS is a union, where members are building their relations on the principles of equality, mutual respect and understanding. This, I believe, is our sincere intention to get closer to each other, to understand each other better will allow BRICS to keep getting stronger in years to come. It is no coincidence that cooperation in humanitarian area was among the priorities of Russian Chairmanship. Russia has always considered BRICS as something more than just a format of economic or political cooperation. It is an integration of five nations that share the same vision of a better world for everyone.”
Pictured at the screening are (l-r) Eric Miyeni, South African writer, actor, filmmaker, Anisha Pemjee, The Diplomatic Society, Alexander Arefiev, Press Attaché, Embassy of Russia and Mikhail Kosarev, Second Secretary, Embassy of Russia

‘Poppie Nongena’ is a biographical drama which tells the heartbreaking story of the plight of an African woman during apartheid. This kind, nurturing mother, daughter, wife, friend, expanded all her energies to stay within the boundaries of the cruel, ridiculous apartheid system which in the end defeated her. It tells the story of a generation of enterprising people who could have positively contributed to all facets of life in South Africa, but who were instead punished, obstructed and dehumanized.

That ‘Apartheid was a crime against humanity’comes through strongly in Poppie Nongena’s story, leaving everyone affected, black and white, irrevocably damaged. And even though as a nation we have moved forward somewhat, the deep scars and hurt of that era remains.

Reconciliation has brought some retribution, but as many have noted, this willingness for reconciliation was mostly made on the part of the oppressed, not the oppressor.

The winners of the festival were
Best film: POPPIE NONGENA by Christiaan Olwagen, South Africa
Special prize: RED GHOST by Andrei Bogatyrev, Russia
Best director: Lou Ye, SATURDAY FICTION, China
Best actress: Kani Kusruti, BIRIYAANI, India
Best actress: Thalita Carauta, THE SILENCE OF THE RAIN, Brazil

In October in Moscow at the end of the award ceremony of the 5th BRICS Film Festival Boris Mashtaler, Executive Director of Russia’s National Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, who represented Russia at the 2019 BRICS Film Festival in Niteroi, Brazil, passed the Festival flag over to Mr Bala Venkatesh Varma, Indian Ambassador to Russia, as India will be hosting the next festival.

by Anisha Pemjee