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Year: 2008
UK: ICA Films
Cast: Thuli, Mildred, Sdudla, Eureka, Jackie
Director: Kim Longinotto
Countries: UK / South Africa
Language: Zulu (English subtitles)
UK: 103 mins
UK Certificate: NC
UK Release Date: 16 July 2010 (Limited Release - London, ICA)


ROUGH AUNTIES follows the multi-racial team of women Thuli, Mildred, Sdudla, Eureka and Jackie as they rescue and find care for the abused children and women in poverty-stricken rural Durban, South Africa. Together they form the “Bobbi Bear” group"so named for a slain friend “Bobbi” and for the teddy bears they give to the child victims they help. But their work is as much about raising awareness as it is about rescuing victims. With HIV/AIDS rampant in South Africa, sexual abuse acts as an agent for the spread of the disease and can carry a death sentence for the victim. Timely reporting of abuse is therefore all the more crucial.

Shot and directed by internationally acclaimed director Kim Longinotto (HBO’s THE DAY I'LL NEVER FORGET), the film weaves footage of daytime office and hospital visits with victims of abuse and night time raids on rural shacks targeting perpetrators of abuse, many of them released by a system too disorganized to keep predators off the streets. What emerges is an unflinching, slice-of-life portrait of a corner of the world, where the women of “Bobbi Bear” stand out as true heroines.

Longinotto studied camera and directing at England's National Film School, before working as cameraperson on a variety of documentaries for TV, including “Cross and Passion,” an account of Catholic women in Belfast, and “Underage,” a chronicle of unemployed adolescents in the English city of Coventry. In 1986, she formed the production company Twentieth Century Vixen.

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