John Trengove • 2017 • South Africa-Germany-Netherlands-France
Shedding light on the closely-guarded ritual of ukwaluka, John Trengove's feature debut disassembles predominant notions of male sexuality in contemporary South Africa.
Each year in the mountains of South Africa's Eastern Cape, young men belonging to the Xhosa tribe embark on a rite of passage. Away from their families they will become men, subject to a secretive circumcision ritual and weeks of recovery, community-building, and feats of physical endurance. As a city boy from Johannesburg Kwanda does not belong to this world, having been sent by his father to toughen up. He is assigned to Xolani, a solitary and taciturn veteran of the ritual now serving as a caretaker, but soon recognizes something of his own desire between Xolani and another guide.
Inxeba (The Wound) premiered at Sundance, Berlin, and New Directors/New Films. It was submitted as the South African entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards, making the December shortlist.