The controversial Xhosa initiation film Inxeba (The Wound) hits cinemas nationwide next week on Friday and East London movie fanatics will get an opportunity to see the film at Hemingways Movies.
The film has sparked a lot of controversy, especially from the Eastern Cape traditional communities.
AmaXhosa King Mpendulo Zwelonke Sigcawu and the youth wing of Contralesa in the Eastern Cape have threatened to have it banned from cinemas. However, that did not work and now South Africans will get to see the story.
The film is an intense journey into the life of Xolani, a lonely factory worker played by musician Nakhane Touré, 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 Xolani’s best-kept secret, a closeted love affair, his entire existence begins to unravel.
The critically acclaimed film has won awards such as the International Federation of Film Critics prize for best actor in a foreign language film at the 29th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival in California for Nakhane’s role as Xolani, Best Film Award in the International New Talent Competition at the Taipei Film Festival, and the Audience Award for Best Feature at the Sydney Film Festival.
It had also been shortlisted as a nominee for an Academy Award (Oscars), but failed to make the final cut. The 2018 Oscar nominees were announced in Beverly Hills‚ Los Angeles yesterday. Films that clinched nominations were A Fantastic Woman‚ The Insult‚ Loveless‚ On Body and Soul and The Square.
Hemingways Movies’s Greg Bousfield confirmed to the Daily Dispatch this week that they would be screening Inxeba.
“The movie wasn’t on our list but head office decided to put it in because there have been calls to have it out,” he said.
East London’s only cinema had previously failed to screen much-talked about films. Movies such as Selma, Kalushi, Straight Outta Compton and Treurgrond all did not make it to the city’s big screens.
While this is a first for Hemingways Movies, Bousfield said the duration of the movie on circuit would depend on their sales.
The news of the movie making it to the big screens received mixed emotions from Daily Dispatch readers. While others said they would be watching the movie, others said it was a shame that a sacred rite of passage had been turned into a movie.
Nomtha D’Angel wrote on the Dispatch’s Facebook page: “I have seen the trailer and it is disgusting. Instead of protecting our African culture and preserving it in a well mannered way where we introduce more safer ways of doing it we exploiting it.”
Simbongile Sodlaka said: “Xhosa Culture taken for granted as usual, exposing to the people who’ve never been through ulwaluko lwesi Xhosa (initiation).” Catch Inxeba at cinemas nationwide on February 2.