87 min, 2012, South Africa/Canada
A city can be seen in news reports, crime statistics or the backgrounds of post-apocalyptic Hollywood blockbusters. It can be explored through guided tours, from behind rolled up car windows or through politics and history. In Jeppe on a Friday Shannon Walsh and Arya Lalloo bring together a team of women directors to explore a different city; the Johannesburg that beats in the men who occupy it. The result is an intimate, quiet portrait of five people from Jeppe, a decayed inner city neighbourhood. As they grapple with the existential and mundane over the course of a single day, these characters reveal the city’s specific textures, but also universal human experience; familial love is behind restaurateur Arouna’s success, nostalgia binds Ravi to his dusty framing shop, ambition drives JJ’s ruthless property development, tradition is at the heart of Robert’s all male Zulu choir, and everyday philosophy gives urban recycler Vusi his momentum. Part travelogue, part urban allegory, Jeppe on a Friday draws from a rich tradition of city-centered direct cinema, and offers a record of life in Johannesburg that demystifies the often maligned male-dominated metropolis.