DVD review – Darling! The Pieter-Dirk Uys Story (2007), Region 4, Shock

Pieter-Dirk Uys may not be a familiar name to many people outside of South Africa but to South Africans he is a political satirist of immense importance. His fans include Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, and the popularity of his alter ego character Evita Bezuidenhout (a bit of a South African Dame Edna Everage), allowed him to lampoon and openly criticise the government’s absurd racial policies during Apartheid.

Uys now educates schoolchildren in AIDS awareness to halt what he regards as a new genocide of  “controlled, planned negligence” by the current South African government. This engaging new documentary is perhaps inaccurately titled, as it does not give a complete overview of Uys’s story, but its aim to highlight the important work being done now by this charismatic and passionate man is commendable. 

DVD extras include a generous selection of deleted scenes, which are very much welcome since the film only runs for 53 minutes and help to fill out the picture of what drives Uys. The disc also contains an insightful Q&A session with Uys and Julian Shaw, the articulate, talented and young Australian director of this terrific documentary.

Originally appeared in The Big Issue, No. 312, 2008

© Thomas Caldwell, 2008