Multi-award-winning South African film ‘Inxeba’ (The Wound), a powerful and complex tale of closeted sexuality, will screen for seven days at Cinema Nouveau Rosebank Mall in Johannesburg, and at the V& A Waterfront Nouveau in Cape Town, from 15 to 21 September. This is to ensure that the film is eligible for submission for the 2018 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The Academy stipulates that a film must play theatrically for seven consecutive days in order to qualify.

In addition to the Johannesburg and Cape Town screenings, ‘Inxeba’ is being shown at special community screenings nationwide, including Durban, East London, Khayelitsha and Gugulethu as part of the qualifying run. It will also be also shown in partnership with Soweto Pride at the end of September.

‘Inxeba’ has won 12 international awards, seven of them in the ‘best film’ category. Its latest win was the Jury Award for Best Film at the World Cinema Amsterdam Festival, held in August, where the film was up against eight other international submissions.

The film has screened at numerous prestigious festivals around the world, including the Sydney Film Festival, the Sundance Film Festival, the Berlinale Panorama, New Directors / New Films in New York, the Valencia International Film Festival in Spain, and the Durban International Film Festival.

‘Inxeba’s’ examination into issues of sexuality, patriarchy, class and repression against a backdrop of traditional masculinity is proving to be compelling, and we are excited to see what the future will hold as the film begins its Oscar submission journey,” says producer Cait Pansegrouw. “The film has stirred up some debate, and we encourage local audiences to see it for themselves.”

Next up is the BFI London Film Festival, from 4-15 October, where the film will screen in the First Feature Competition, which recognises the most original and imaginative directorial debut. Michael Blyth, a film programmer for the BFI London Film Festival, describes the film as follows: “Privileging a need for cultural authenticity, director John Trengove worked with a cast of exclusively native Xhosa speakers, many of whom are non-actors. The result is a visually breathtaking, thematically complex meditation on the wounds that exist on the surface and those deeper scars that never truly heal.”

The controversial film explores tradition and masculinity, and the clash between age-old rituals and modernity. Described by Variety magazine as “a milestone in South African cinema”, the film stars musician and novelist Nakhane Touré as Xolani, a lonely factory worker who joins the men of his community in the mountains of the Eastern Cape to initiate a group of teenage boys into manhood. When a defiant initiate from the city discovers his best kept secret, Xolani’s entire existence begins to unravel.

The LA Times makes particular mention of the film’s actors: “The cast is remarkable too, with Touré’s quiet intensity like a flame in fear of being extinguished, while Mantsai’s textured portrayal of a closeted man with a protective coating of alpha bullying creates a through line of emotional suspense. As Kwanda, watchful and wise beyond his years, Ncoyini creates plenty of sparks with his defensive arrogance.”

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