this film about masculinity and sexuality in south africa is daring, but will it miss the mark?

March 14, 2017


Announced in November as one of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival’s World Dramatic Competition contenders, The Wound from South African filmmaker John Trengove is already stirring up controversy for its take on masculinity and sexuality among the Xhosa people of South Africa. The film tells the story of Xolani, a factory worker who travels yearly with men from his community into the mountains to initiate of a group of teenage boys into manhood. When one of the initiates, Kwanda, uncovers Xolani’s deepest secrets about his sexuality, tensions ensue.

Trengove, who is white, wades into a deeply contentious conversation about the views of gender and sexuality among Indigenous people in Africa. Early reviews note the conflict between the westernized Kwanda and more traditional Xolani illuminate the typical progressive/conservative dichotomy generally assigned to those positions without nuance. Though daring films that challenge this type of very real gendered violence are crucial, without a substantial critique of the ways colonization have informed violent views of gender and sexuality among Indigenous communities, the film could do more harm than good.

The Wound stars musician and novelist Nakhane Touré in his first ever film-role, alongside Bongile Mantsai and Niza Jay Ncoyini. Its intended release in South Africa is July 2017.

Check out the teaser-trailer for the film embedded below!:

For more information about The Wound, visit