Following its successful world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, and its European premiere as the opening film on the Panorama programme at the 67th Berlinale in Germany, South African film ‘Inxeba’ (The Wound) released theatrically in France yesterday (April 19).
A film about the clash between tradition and modernity, ‘Inxeba’ is the first feature from writer-director John Trengove, co-written by Thando Mgqolozana and Malusi Bengu.
It will be released on 41 screens in France, including six in Paris, seven in Lyon, seven in Marseille and seven in Bordeaux. The film stars Nakhane Toure 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 Kwanda (Niza Jay Ncoyini), a defiant initiate from the city, discovers his secret, Xolani’s entire existence begins to unravel.
The film, a co-production between South Africa, France, Germany and The Netherlands, attracted media partnerships with French national newspapers Le Monde and Telerama, as well as the national radio station France Culture,” says Roxane Arnold, head of distribution at Pyramide Films. The French distribution company has invested R2,5 million (approximately €165 000) into the marketing of the film and hopes to attract 50 000 viewers to cinemas in France.
“‘The Wound’ belongs to a rare class of films – those which depict a local, unique situation with humility and respect while triggering a much-needed conversation in every one of the territories where it is released,” says Marie Dubas, one of the French producers from Deuxiéme Ligne Films. “The eagerness of the French cinemas to screen it proves the depth of the moral and political issues at the heart of the film. These complexities are conveyed by smart and sensitive characters who are sure to move audiences profoundly.”
‘Inxeba’ continues to travel around the world, having been officially selected for festivals in Belgium, Poland, Australia, New Zealand, Italy and Greece. It was recently awarded the Narrative Jury Prize at the Sarasota Film Festival in Florida, USA.
Thus far, the film has been licensed to distributors in 19 countries, including the USA, the UK, Germany, Brazil and Australia. It will be distributed in South African by Indigenous Film Distribution.
“As an African producer, I am proud to have worked on this collaborative local film, which has been very thoughtfully and carefully crafted over several years. The Wound is deeply embedded within South African culture that resonates with an international audience,” says producer Batana Vundla. “The film touches on universal human emotions around sexual identity and self-acceptance, and it looks at the interaction between tradition and sexuality. It’s bound to be seen as controversial by some.”
The release strategy for South Africa ensures that the film will qualify as a strong contender to represent the country in the Best Foreign Language Film Category of the 2018 Academy Awards.“We are excited to be working with Indigenous Film Distribution as we begin to implement the local rollout of ‘Inxeba’, say producers Elias Ribeiro and Cait Pansegrouw of Urucu Media, an independent production company dedicated to nurturing authentic voices in South African film.
Le Monde’ journalist Thomas Sotinel stated: “South African first feature debut by John Trengove will leave profound marks embedded in your memory.”