The commotion surrounding Inxeba (The Wound) appears to be far from over. After the appeal tribunal of the South African Film and Publication Board (FPB) banned it from SA cinemas on Wednesday, the film’s distributor is seeking legal advice.
The FPB changed the classification of the multiple award-winning film from 16LS to X18, based on sex, language, nudity, violence and prejudice, which means it can now only be screened at designated adult premises.
“This is to provide consumer advice to enable adults to make informed viewing choices for themselves and children in their care; to protect children from exposure to disturbing and harmful material and from premature exposure to adult experiences,” the FPB said on Twitter.
The film sparked national protests and saw cinemas shut down over its portrayal of homosexual love scenes at a Xhosa initiation school. Members of the cast and the production team were also subjected to threats of violence.
Indigenous Film Distribution managing director Helen Kuun said: “This is one of the most severe ratings a film can receive. “We have sought advice from legal representatives, who are studying the decision, and we will advise on our way forward imminently.”
Producer Cait Pansegrouw added: “We are obviously disappointed with the outcome. “The FBP has classified an important work of art that explores themes around masculinity, love and identity as an X-rated film.”
Meanwhile, South Africans are still divided about whether the film is captivating or disrespectful. One fan, Molife Kumona, wrote on social media.
“#Inxeba is actually a really good movie. Those who protested about it probably didn’t watch it. “It’s a good story; heartbreaking, funny, intense and thought-provoking.”
On Twitter, musician Loyiso Bala said: “Inxeba totally ridicules and disrespects the wishes and traditions of the Xhosa culture.
“If we, as a country, cannot protect our own cultural beliefs and differences, no one else will do it for us.”
The FPB’s issues with the film are understood to be largely about the “perceived cultural insensitivity and distortion of the Xhosa circumcision tradition (ulwaluko), and strong language in the film”.