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Khalo Matabane: State of Violence

The South African director, who went from writing documentaries early in his career to dealing with fiction, makes his Berlinale debut with a tense, compelling action film with a documentary approach to daily life in his home country.

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The South African director, who went from writing documentaries early in his career to dealing with fiction, makes his Berlinale debut with a tense, compelling action film with documentary approach to daily life in his home country.

Sum up your film in one sentence.

Film about memory and denial.

How did you come up with the initial idea?

Because violence is such a typical theme in South Africa and the world, I wanted to understand it deeper.

If you could show your film in a double feature, which would be the other one?

I would screen it with [Michael] Haneke’s film Caché, because I love it and the themes of denial are similar.

Why do you make films?

I love telling stories.

If you didn’t make films, what would you do?

Be a Buddhist monk.

What would you like to be remembered for?

Living my life to the fullest and being kind, generous and fair.

Take two films on a desert island…

Raging Bull by Martin Scorsese and Akira Kurosawa’s Ran.

A film or director that changed your life? Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing and Costa-Gavras’s Z.

Describe one of your favourite scenes in a film of your choice.

The scene in The Godfather where the Al Pacino character confronts his brother who has just betrayed him and ends up killing him. Heartbreaking.