DGLFF SHOWCASES INXEBA (THE WOUND) MOVIE
Written by: Mfundo Knowledge Mthembu
On its release into exclusive screenings, Inxeba (The Wound) movie has been the talk of the town, scooping prestigious awards both locally and internationally to date.
The movie features South African singer and song writer Nakhane Toure, whose screen debut was outstanding. To add on he’s received best actor gong at the Durban International Film Festival.
The movie tells a story in the deep rural area of the Eastern Cape. It portrays the Xhosa initiation rituals, same sex desires and intimate relationship, hyper masculinity, patriarchal attitudes, coming of age all of which is in an educational, informative and eye opening spectrum. And whilst it seemed to have stirred controversy, particularly within the Xhosa community, Durban Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (DGLFF) Director Jason Fiddler tell it all in an interview.
In an interview with Journalismiziko, Fiddler stated point blank the good intentions the filmmakers had while creating Inxeba (The Wound).
“Inxeba (The Wound) has had a sharply divided reaction in the broader Xhosa community. On one side, a specific and vocal group that have either only seen the trailer and not the film , or who’ve heard about what some are saying, have been opposed to the film. They say it disrespects their culture, it’s ‘selling out’ and that it’s revealing sacred secrets of ritual,” said Fiddler.
Fiddler continued added that “on the other side, Xhosa people who’ve seen the film, or who’ve heard about it from those who have, are very much in support of the story. It’s become clearly a case of homophobia versus sexual minorities, and some social media comments have been downright ugly”.
Creating of safe spaces is everything a diversified society and community needs, and the DGLFF is the true embodiment and representation of such safe spaces for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex community in the film industry.
Described by the Variety magazine as a ‘milestone in South African cinema’, Inxeba (The Wound) hits too close to home hence the recent backlash and negative reception from a number of very vocal individuals and groups.
“I don’t think the filmmakers of ‘The Wound’ went out to create a film that would specifically make certain statements, and instigate progressive change. Filmmakers, especially queer filmmakers or those telling LGBTIQ stories, are in fact artists, creatives who sacrifice a great deal of time, money and energy to share a story that means something to them. There are so many people globally that need to share their stories using the skills at their disposal,” added Fiddler.
Fiddler had known about the making of Inxeba (The Wound) for quite some time, when Brazilian filmmaker, Elias Ribiero shared with him the enticing brief outline of the movie and there and then Fiddler knew he had to have the movie. Even he was beyond amazed seeing the finished film. It is safe to assume it transcended all expectations.
“Seeing the finished film was profound for me. It’s an incredibly well-made movie. It’s an engaging story and very well acted. It drew me in, opened up my emotions to the characters and took me on a journey of discovery. That’s what film does: it elicits extraordinary reactions from its audience. To sound a little cliché, it’s South Africa’s Brokeback Mountain moment. This film is going to change a lot of things for many people,” said Fiddler.
South Africa being a developed country, balancing of gender and sexual orientation inequality is the utmost priority, and Fiddler is hopeful that the lesbian and gay cinema industry is bound to contribute positive change while challenging some perceptions.
“When I conceived of the idea of DGLFF in 2010, I did so selfishly. I wanted to see queerer cinema. Out-in-Africa wasn’t coming to Durbs anymore and we didn’t have much in the way of video-on-demand as we do today. I also loved my city, and my gay & lesbian peeps, so I felt that this would create another, and new, space for us to socialise, in a much more cultural and therefore fundamental way,” said Fiddler.
He added that from the very first festival in September 2011, he realised that this event would grow into something special. It was, and remains very much so, an important platform for South African filmmakers wanting to tell LGBTIQ stories. Having a full home-gown African feature telling a gay storyline is an extraordinary honour, as films like this are currently here in Africa as rare as hens’ teeth.
On behalf of the filmmakers and DGLFF, Fiddler was made a very clear point with regards to people’s perception and reception of the film. However, urged people to at least watch the movie then prejudging it from hear-says.
“It would be very wrong of any of us to force people to change their minds about this film, or about our thinking for that matter. Doing so makes us as bad as the film’s detractors. We can only achieve broader tolerance, and then ultimately, acceptance, by being progressive and determined in our own path,” said Fiddler.
He continued added that slowly, people begin to change the way they look at, speak of, and eventually engage with LGBTIQ’s diversity and divergence. As the proverb goes, you can only eat an elephant one bite at a time and the evolution of progressive, respectful and genuinely free thinking here in South Africa is a really big deal. Of course not everyone likes an elephant, but that’s also fine, they’re very free to do so.
*Caption: Lead actors Nakhane Toure ‘Xolani’ and Bongile Manstaj ‘Vija’ Of Inxeba (The Wound) movie.