Sex sells. We know but when it comes to same-sex, controversy creeps in, tearing apart whatever it’s featured on whether book, film, painting or song.
Inxeba was reclassified last month – putting it in the same category as pornography and banning it from cinemas around the country. Partner at Webber Wentzel attorneys, Dario Milo, says the return of the film to cinemas is an incredible victory.
The premiere of Inxeba (The Wound) was shut down at three Eastern Cape cinema complexes in South Africa by groups of demonstrators having some cinemas pulling the film after staff members were threatened because the movie exposed the sacred rites involved in ulwaluko, a traditional circumcisions rituals that are purposely shrouded in mystery. The rituals were depicted in an unrequited love story between two initiates in an initiation school setting.
But the curators of Inxeba/The Wound understand the business of controversy marketing, using homophobes to stir public debate on masculinity, cultural appropriation, and the lengths communities have to go to protect mysterious traditions while boosting the movie’s viewership and giving it more attention in the media.
Speaking to Local News, the producer Elias Ribeiro said that:
“Nobody is forced to see Inxeba. But South Africans have every right to watch and engage with it. Protestors at several cinemas warned staff that they would follow them home and kill them if the screening of the film went ahead. This is not acceptable in a democratic society.”
In the same vein, Indigenous Film Distribution, the company releasing the film in South Africa, said a claim by Man and Boy Foundation executive director, Nkululeko Nxesi, that “99% of the South Africa population are against this movie” contradicted actual attendances where the movie was screened. According to figures released, Inxeba was the best performing film at 7 of the sites where it was released. Ahead of its opening weekend, pre-screenings were held around the country, and “85% of people who attended gave it the thumbs up,” managing director Helen Kuun said in a statement.
Also, the film’s director John Trengrove stressed that Inxeba is not the first piece of work to speak about initiation.
“I’m certain it won’t be the last. It’s a complete fallacy to say that the film exposes anything that is not already known. Inxeba is not going to go away and we are invested in making sure that people who do want to see the film will get to do so,” he said.
The film has already climbed the success ladder as it has been widely viewed at the pre-screenings, nominated for eight SA Film and Television Awards, won 19 awards at 44 festivals worldwide and has become the first South Africa film available on Netflix. It was also short-listed for this year’s Oscars in the Best Foreign Language Film category.
Watch The Wound‘s Official Trailer below: