Queer film back in cinemas despite challenges

 

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A scene between the two leads in the film. source: inxeba.com

 

As of the 9th of March, the internationally acclaimed film, Inxeba (The Wound), is back in cinemas after being reclassified to a rating of X18 (explicit sex) by The Film and Publication Board’s Appeal Tribunal which resulted in it being pulled from mainstream cinemas. Prior to the reclassification, the movie’s debut met protest action from traditional leaders which resulted in the cancellation of screenings in selected cinemas throughout South Africa.

Inxeba follows a queer and urban boy called Kwanda go through traditional initiation school wherein he encounters two caretakers who happen to be living with a secret that they intend to keep within the compounds of the mountain. Watch the trailer here.

On the 13th of February, the FPB Appeals Tribunal announced that they are reclassifying the movie as a pornographic film instead of the initial 16LS. The FPB Appeals Tribunal argued the film lacked “educational and artistic value” despite it winning over 19 international awards. As a result, the movie was banned from commercial cinema.

The reclassification of the film was described as “unlawful”. Consequently, the Inxeba team filed a lawsuit to overturn the new rating and allow the film to be back in South African cinemas. They claimed that this reclassification was a form of homophobia.

On the 6th of March, the North Gauteng high court ruled in favour of the Inxeba team and overruled the reclassification and removed the explicit sex rating. In effect, the movie is back in cinemas nationwide. However, in their latest post, it appeared that Eastern Cape cinemas were excluded from the list. The team explained below:

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The courts are currently reviewing the procedure followed and the lawfulness of the reclassification. Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Controlesa) and the Inxeba will be back in court on the 28th of March. In the meantime, the film has been given an interim age restriction of 18.

Controlesa met the debut of the movie in February with protest action asking the film to be banned. They argued that the film is a “negative representation” of the Xhosa coming of age ceremony of Ulwalukho.

In an interview, the director, John Trengove, said: “We knew from the start that we’d spark strong reactions from traditionalists.” He continued and said that he was also encouraged by the younger Xhosa youth to break the silence around the toxicity of the ritual.

Protest action on the 2nd of February led to the closing of the screenings in the Eastern Cape, namely Port Elizabeth and East London. Videos of protestors who were against Inxeba circulated around social media and can be followed by #Inxeba on twitter. The several pleas for the film to be banned sparked a conversation about homophobia, toxic masculinity, and the absence of traditionalists in the fight against abuse women and children in South Africa.

The Inxeba team urge audiences who haven’t seen the film to practice their “constitutional right” and go see the film. These are the selected cinemas:

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