Films

LGBT Drama The Wound Back In South African Court To Battle Controversial Porn Classification

Three days after scooping six prizes at the South African Film And Television Awards, the backers of Oscar short-listed festival hit The Wound were back in court yesterday to argue against the films adult rating.

After its initial release in South Africa on February 2 with a 16LS rating, the movie was pulled from some venues after protests over its plot line. The gay love story is set against a local initiation custom called ulwaluko, which sees hundreds of young men sent “to the mountain” on a rite of passage experience during which they are circumcised.

The films exploration of tradition and identity has irked some conservatives in the country — the films star, Nakhane Touré, reportedly received death threats long before the films release and has avoided interviews — and South African regulators subsequently slapped the Sundance and Berlin 2017 title with an X18 rating, a classification generally reserved for pornographic films.

The harsh rating, decried by the filmmakers, meant the film could only be shown in “designated adult premises,” a move the Board said would “protect children from exposure to disturbing and harmful material.” Inevitably, the film flew off screens. However, that decision was overturned earlier this month by a local judge who has given it a temporary rating between the two classifications, despite a last-ditch effort by the National House of Traditional Leaders to prevent the the films return to theaters.

Yesterdays Pretoria High Court appearance included testimonies from the filmmakers, a representative of the initiation process and the local censor. The judge is due to give his verdict in the coming days. Depending on the outcome, either camp might decide to appeal the decision.

The films local distributor Indigenous Film Distribution told us, ” We will assess the progress with out legal team once Judge Ralinga has ruled on the review with regards to the way forward. At the moment the film is in cinemas with the 18 SNLVP rating.”

Despite its travails, the film has performed admirably at South Africas box office, opening in sixth position and to date taking “200% more than Moonlight“, according to its distributor. Director John Trengoves drama has played at numerous festivals including Sundance, Berlin, London and Palm Springs. On Sunday, it took home six prizes at the South African Film And Television Awards, including Best Film, and it previously made the 9-film short-list for the Foreign Language Oscar. Kino Lorber has U.S. rights. Peccadillo will release in the UK.

Trengoves star is rising and he was signed by CAA earlier this year having already been on the books of Independent Talent Group. He won the Sutherland Award for Best Debut Film at the London Film Festival.

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