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African Film Treasure Goes Online

5 September 2009

The Rose of Rhodesia (1918), one of the earliest feature films made in South Africa, goes online today at the website of Australian film journal Screening the Past.

A five-reel romance centred on a stolen diamond, an interracial friendship, and an anti-colonial uprising, The Rose of Rhodesia impressed contemporary reviewers with its daring realism, spectacular outdoor locations, and casting of African actors in prominent roles. Considered lost for most of the last century, the film may claim to be the first fictional treatment of Zimbabwe in cinema.

Now fully restored by the Nederlands Filmmuseum, The Rose of Rhodesia is being streamed together with a new musical soundtrack by acclaimed silent film composer Matti Bye. Accompanying the film is a special issue of Screening the Past, edited by Stephen Donovan and Vreni Hockenjos, in which specialists from a range of disciplines offer the first detailed analysis of this remarkable cinematic discovery.

Both film and journal issue are available now at www.latrobe.edu.au/screeningthepast/