South African court rules controversial movie ‘The Wound’ can return to theatres

An acclaimed South African film that was restricted to only being shown in ‘adult premises’ can return to cinemas after the nation’s High Court overturned a ruling from the Film and Publication Board.

Director John Tengove’s 2017 film tracks the closeted relationship between two men as they pass through the the traditional ceremony of Ulwaluko practiced by the Xhosa people.

The initiation ceremony sees young men being accepted into manhood by a circumcision procedure and a period of seclusion.

The film, which was South Africa’s pick for Best Foreign Language film this year’s Academy Awards, had generated great controversy when it was released in 2017.

The film has been accused of cultural insensitivity because it shares what occurs in the secret rituals, but it has been suggested that the complaints are more likely to be because of the topic of homosexuality.

The film was originally shown in cinemas but following complaints from the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa, and Christian groups, its rating was increased to X18. The reclassification puts the film in the same category as hard-core pornography, even though the film does not contain any scenes of that nature.

The film’s producer Cait Pansegrouw told industry bible Variety that the decision to overturn the ruling was a victory for all filmmakers.

Director John Tenglove said there still needed to be an explanation about how the decision to restrict the film came about.

“The South African film and arts community still deserves to hear a real explanation of how the tribunal arrived at such an embarrassing violation of our legal and constitutional rights in the first place,” Trengove said, describing the High Court decision as a “vindicated victory for the film.”

OIP Staff

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