The openly gay Pieter-Dirk Uys is known throughout South Africa as a leading satirist and commentator on the political absurdities of the day. Evita Bezuidenhout, his well-known creation, is known as ‘the most famous white woman in South Africa’.
A documentary film featuring both of them, Darling: The Pieter-Dirk Uys Story, has been screened as part of the prestigious Panorama-choice at the 2008 Berlin Film Festival which recently ended in the German capital.
Darling: The Pieter-Dirk Uys Story, is a documentary film that focuses mainly on Uys’s Aids-presentations at South African schools and his use of humour to confront fear and stigma.
He has visited over a million young people with this free entertainment. The film was made by 17-year old New Zealander Julian Shaw who joined him on the road and documented the experiences.
Although the film failed to take home any prizes in Berlin, it has been rewarded at other recent festivals, winning the Independent Spirit Award at the 2007 IF Awards, Australia’s biggest public-voted movie awards, as well as being recognised as the Best New Zealand Medium Documentary at the DOCNZ, Australasia’s biggest international documentary festival in October 2007. Julian Shaw received the Best Emerging Filmmaker Award.
Darling: the Pieter-Dirk Uys Story was also a winner at South Africa’s Encounters Documentary Festival in 2007.
Whilst in Berlin Pieter-Dirk Uys presented one performance of his show A (Jewish) Boer in Berlin at the Jewish Museum where his mother Helga Bassel’s piano is part of the exhibition Home and Exile (Heimat und Exile).
The show introduces a range of characters and explores his use of humour to fight fear and repression with a focus on his Jewish legacy.