Janaína Nagata / BR, 2022 / 91 min.
A desktop documentary using open source research to expose the appalling reality beyond the frames of a carefree family vacation film, shot in early-1960s South Africa.
In 2018, artist and filmmaker Janaína Nagata bought an old reel for a 16mm projector online. It turned out to contain a vacation film of a couple and their young daughter in South Africa. The movie included scenes of a safari in Kruger Park, rickshaw drivers dressed in “traditional” costume in Durban, Bantu women in the parched countryside, and white women amusing themselves at a swimming pool.
Private Footage starts with the vacation film; then Nagata uses open sources on the Internet (Google, YouTube, etc.) to find the other reality, the one not shown in the film. Using split screen, she presents fragments from the vacation movie on one side and her research findings on the other. In the course of this fascinating documentary she completely deconstructs the vacation footage, pretty much shot by shot.
The apparently innocent images conceal the appalling apartheid system; meanwhile its architect, Hendrik Verwoerd, can be seen enjoying dinner with fellow members of the white elite. The jarring, dissonant soundtrack intensifies the queasy atmosphere and the sense that there is something fundamentally wrong with the scenes from this vacation.
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