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2015 UKZN 36th Durban Film Festival Personal reflection

Sep 10, 2015

Review: The End of DIFFidence 

By Rasvanth Chunylall


South Africa, 2015, English, 11 days

Director: Student Media Lab

Cast: Rasvanth Chunylall, Ndu Ngcobo, Basil N. Hamusokwe, Kwazi Molefe, Danica Hansen, Jon Campling


The Student Media lab has concocted a fine new production this year. Set within the backdrop of the glamorous Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), this docu drama provides a fascinating behind-the-scenes exploration of the many highs and lows experienced by a student journalist and blogger.


A group of selectively chosen Interns meet and are tasked with coverage of the DIFF. One of these promising young individuals is Rasvanth Chunylall. After passing a review test, he is given the opportunity to blog and review the in-competition films screened at various cinemas across the province. Spanning 11 days, Rasvanth must contend with traffic jams, petrol costs, bureaucracy, sleepless nights and rewrites. Will Rasvanth survive and make it to the closing night function?


**Spoiler begins here**


He does.


**Spoiler ends**


Perhaps the greatest triumph of The End of DIFFidence, is the performance of its cast. As the woman-in-charge, Ndu Ngcobo shines in this tough and sometimes thankless role. Her constant support and encouragement of the interns is a delight to witness. Basil N. Hamusokwe does well as an editor, a constant if unseen presence behind the scenes. Danica Hansen has worked previously with Rasvanth in several other productions and their chemistry is apparent. Jon Campling takes on the role as Rasvanth’s trusty companion and sidekick, lighting up the screen with good humour whenever present.


Of course, the star of the feature is Rasvanth. The performance is a must-see as he triumphs through Q&A sessions with prestigious film-directors and reviews some of the greatest (and perhaps not so great) films present at the festival. There is a humorous moment where he meets award-winning writer, Gcina Mhlophe, at the closing night ceremony. He is afflicted with “Star-struck-itus” and forgets his name - a moment which will leave the audience in giggles.


The End of DIFFidence refers to both the conclusion of the festival and the end of the self-doubts and shyness the central character possesses”, said Rasvanth Chunylall at a recent interview in Milan. “It was a pleasure taking on this role and experiencing all that the production had to offer.”


Chunylall’s work has already earned him two accolades: A review on The Boda Boda Thieves was published in the Witness and by City Press.


Heart-warming, moving, exciting and complex, The End of DIFFidence left this reviewer on the edge of his seat. There are rumours that the Student Media Lab will produce a sequel next year. My hope is that they do so that other fine individuals can grow and develop as Chunylall did.



Byline: Rasvanth Chunylall is a Media and Cultural Studies Masters student at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. After surviving Catwoman, he has made it his mission to help people watch good movies.













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