Why Inxeba: The Wound could win South Africa our second Oscar | KAYA FM

inxeba the wound oscars

Why Inxeba: The Wound could win South Africa our second Oscar

16 Jan 2018 ARTS & CULTURE

By Nomali Cele

Over the years, South African films have been screened on world stages at film festivals and recognised for the artistry put in the stories. Our small film industry is chugging along and getting stronger and better by the film. Not to mention the fact that Cape Town is home to global, big-budget productions. 2017 presented us with a film that could see a second Oscar award landing in the country.

South Africa’s history with the Oscars

“Yesterday,” starring South African darling Leleti Khumalo, was nominated for the Academy Award in the category of Best Foreign Language film in 2004. Unfortunately, the moving tale about a rural woman losing her husband to Aids and battling HIV herself did not bring the award home. The disappointment wasn’t a long one because following year, “Tsotsi” starring the then-unknown Terry Pheto and Presley Chweneyagaeas was not only nominated for an Academy award, it brought it back home.

Not since “Tsotsi’s” big win has a South African film been nominated for the awards. However past South African submissions for Best Foreign Language Film have included “Jaresulema,” “Four Corners,”  Afrikaans film “Beauty” “Elelwani” and more.

Inxeba“, South Africa’s hope at the 90th Academy awards, features a gay man at the centre of a controversial cultural practice. As the film goes on the story of his life comes into focus an intersects with the story of a young initiate, unravelling the plot while highlighting homophobia and other ways our cultures make us choose between who we are told to be and who we are.

Courting Controversy

The qualification run of the “Inxeba” — it needed to be on screens for a week to qualify as an Oscars submission — was received well by audiences for its storytelling while stirring some controversy for what some audience members perceived as breaking a sacred cultural law. It wouldn’t be life imitating art if there wasn’t also some homophobia thrown in by the audience.

After its short run of screenings, “Inxeba” was officially selected as South Africa’s submission to the Academy awards for Best Foreign Language Film. Currently, it’s among nine titles from which a committee of voters will select the final nominees at the end of January. If “Inxeba” makes it onto the list of nominated films, it stands a good chance of being the ultimate winner.

What sets “Inxeba” apart from previous South African Oscar submissions is the story being told. Previous submissions have tended to be along two lines: gangsterism stories or women suffering. What “Inxeba” does well is that shrinks the whole world to focus on the one man trapped between who he is and his culture. A man longing for intimacy.

2017 was the year of runaway success film “Call me by your Name” which also features a gay storyline. 2017 was the year of intimacy and vulnerability in film, preceeded by “Moonlight” winning Best Picture at the 2017 Oscar awards. If “Inxeba” makes it onto the final list of nominations, there will have been no better time for it to be nominated.


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