Intriguing South African Documentary SHIELD AND SPEAR Examines Integration Through Art

Todd Brown, Founder and Editor
We somehow overlooked Petter Ringbom's Shield And Spear when it screened at HotDocs here in Toronto but it returns to our attention now thanks to its selection at South Africa's Durban International Film Festival. And good thing, too, because this looks like fascinating stuff.

An artist paints a caricature of Jacob Zuma, provoking a lawsuit, death threats and a massive street protest. An Afrikaans musician bases a stage character on an archetypal African dictator in order to comment on his context. A photographer documents the LGBT community, exposing hate crimes that go unnoticed. Shield and Spear explores a constellation of stories about art, music, identity, race, and freedom of expression in contemporary South Africa, looking at what comes after the jubilation and celebration of a newly won freedom. It asks the question, "what is the role of creative identity?" in a place where issues of race, class and history are impossible to ignore.
Race is a hugely significant issue in South Africa, obviously, specifically the challenges of integrating a society so deliberately held separate for some long. What makes Ringbom's examination of this issues so intriguing here is his approach to them through the arts, an area that tends to strip such matters away in some cases while shoving them to the fore in other, often unexpected ways. He's got a fascinating group of interview subjects here and the handling of the content looks absolutely top notch. Check the trailer below.

Shield and Spear Trailer from Petter Ringbom on Vimeo.

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