The 'Road to Pride'

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ROAD TO PRIDE. South Africa, 2009. Directed by Inger Smith and Lesedi Mogoathle.

Sometimes simple works best. Take Road to Pride. The documentary tracks two friends driving from Cape Town to Joburg for the annual Gay Pride march. Interspersed with their road trip are interviews with a number of South African lesbians, who speak about their sexuality, their relationships and their families.

A neat package. But with nifty editing and a narrative that takes in a broad range of perspectives, it becomes much more - an engaging and quite remarkable record of contemporary lesbian attitudes. From just-come-out baby dykes to settled couples with kids, the interviews are frank and fresh, and it all culminates in the funky parade at the end. A satisfying reminder of how far we have travelled in terms of gay and lesbian visibility in South Africa. And, of course, the journeys that are still to come.

l Nu Metro V & A Waterfront, October 24.

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THE OWLS. USA, 2010. |Directed by Cheryl Dunne.

Owls are supposed to be Older, Wiser Lesbians. There're even social and activist groups with the name. But they're not in this movie. These gals are more like Older, Wino Lesbians. With a quart of vodka on the side. Made as part reality TV, part murder thriller, The Owls features a group of women who've supposedly settled down after a wild youth spent playing in punk bands and reading Audre Lorde. They're getting into gardening and considering having kids. Maybe kids with Alcohol Foetal Syndrome.

Anyway, one night while they're drinking, one of the gang gets killed. Then along comes a woman who looks like Tracy Chapman on steroids. She's looking for the dead chick. This is the catalyst for more glasses of wine, with a side shot of angst. The Owls is a self-consciously collective effort, with the actors earnestly telling you in between scenes how they're getting into character. Not sure if it works - but the overall noir-butch-femme thing is quite fascinating. Probably best viewed after a few drinks.

l Nu Metro Waterfront, October 31; Foxy, October 26 and November 7.

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THE SECRET DIARIES OF MISS ANNE LISTER. UK, 2010. Directed by James Kent.

Now here's an antidote for all those lesbians who were traumatised by The Well of Loneliness. Like Radclyffe Hall's famous novel, The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister features a young, independent and wealthy woman who deviates from the social mores of her time. She enjoys "manly" pursuits - studying literature, shooting pistols, buying coal mines - and loves the ladies. But she's a lot more upbeat than Hall's invert.

The film is based on the real life of Lister, a rather dashing Yorkshirewoman in the early 19th century. Her day-to-day diaries were discovered after her death, and provide titillating details of her personal passions. The film is a cinematic pleasure, with plenty of dramatic roaming across the moors and daring rumpy-pumpy in mansions. Styling and satisfying.

l Nu Metro Waterfront, October 27 and November 3.

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JOAN AND VERNE'S WEDDING. |South Africa, 2010. Directed by Doug Foulkes.

Celebrating the right to be married in the religious ceremony of their choice, Joan and Verne's Wedding is a warm, joyous documentary that covers both the human and the human rights angles of same-sex marriage. Joan and Verne have been together for many years, but don't see the point of "a piece of paper" to seal their partnership. …