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The Wound Image

The Wound


Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema

Ritual circumcision of South African Xhosa boys as a passage into manhood is only one form of wound on display in John Trengove’s sensitive and powerfully dramatic debut. Every year, young Xhosa boys deemed ready are taken from their families and sequestered in a mountainous area, where they go through the process known as ukwaluka as preparation for manhood. In addition to ritual circumcision, ukwaluka entails fasting and obeying the elders there to shepherd the boys through their trying ordeal. One such caregiver is Xolani (well-known gay South African singer Nakhane Touré), a closeted gay man who looks forward to the yearly gathering because he can meet up with his (married) lover, Vija (Bongile Mantsai). Xolani’s latest charge is the rebellious teen Kwanda (Niza Jay Ncoyini), considered too "soft" and effeminate by the traditionalist elders, whose ideas of masculinity run strictly along heterosexual lines. For his part, Kwanda wants nothing to do with the ritual circumcision he is scheduled to undergo and when he becomes suspicious about Xolani and Vija’s relationship, director Trengove ramps up the tension and sets the stage for an explosion…

"Trengove’s hard-edged but beautifully wrought study of clashing Xhosa models of masculinity will be an eye-opener to outsiders… Universally identifiable but rooted in fascinating indigenous tradition… this is a film of many indelible images."—Guy Lodge, Variety

Audience Award, Sydney Film Festival 17

Director John Trengove
Country of Origin: South Africa/Germany/Netherlands/France
Year: 2017
Running Time: 88 mins
Format: DCP
Language:In Xhosa with English subtitles
Cast: Nakhane Touré, Bongile Mantsai, Niza Jay Ncoyini, Thobani Mseleni
Producer: Elias Ribeiro, Cait Pansegrouw
Screenwriter: John Trengove, Thando Mgqolozana, Malusi Bengu
Cinematographer: Paul Özgür
Editor: Matthew Swanepoel
Production Design: Bobby Cardoso, Solly Sithole
Music: João Orecchia
Production Company: Urucu Media
Distributor: Kino Lorber


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