Showmax has been steadily ramping up its selection of local content all year but they’ve saved the best for last: you can now stream this year’s Oscar-shortlisted drama The Wound and the African Movie Academy Awards’ Best Film of 2018, Five Fingers To Marseilles.
Inxeba | The Wound, directed by John Trengove
Premise: Xolani, a lonely factory worker, joins the men of his community in the mountains of the Eastern Cape to initiate a group of teenage boys into manhood. When a defiant initiate from the city discovers his best-kept secret, Xolani’s entire existence begins to unravel.
Why you should watch:
1. The Wound is one of the most talked-about South African movies of the last decade. Local cinemas were forced to cancel screenings after death threats and protests about its depiction of the secret Xhosa initiation ritual, then the Film and Publications Board Tribunal reclassified it as porn (it’s not) after complaints from traditionalists, essentially banning it from mainstream cinemas. The classification was later overturned in the North Gauteng High Court.
2. Nakhane as Xolani. Your favourite singer will become your new favourite actor. As AVClub wrote, the film has “a potent weapon in [Nakhane], whose superb, deeply internalized performance manages to suggest wellsprings of longing concealed by a scrim of perpetual wariness.”
3. I-D Magazine called it “the most important LGBT film you will see in 2018… through the character of Xolani we are introduced to a world where homosexuality is still simply not an option.” The excessive protests against the film laid bare the rampant homophobia that remains in parts of South Africa.
Accolades: 1. Oscar-shortlisted, 2018. 2. Winner of 28 international awards. 3. 90% critics rating, Rotten Tomatoes. 4. Included in The Guardian’s list of the best movies of 2018 so far.
Five Fingers For Marseilles, directed by Michael Matthews
Premise: Twenty years ago, the young “Five Fingers” fought for the rural town of Marseilles against brutal police oppression. Now, after fleeing in disgrace, freedom-fighter-turned-outlaw Tau returns to Marseilles, seeking a peaceful pastoral life. When he finds the town under a new threat, he reluctantly fights to free it. Can he free himself from his past? Will the Five Fingers stand again?
Why you should watch:
1. The Wall Street Journal suggested it could be the Western genre’s Black Panther.
2. Variety called it “almost too entertaining for its own good.”
3. Every Western should be filmed in the Eastern Cape from now on; it’s gorgeous.
4. As Tau, Vuyo Dabula is “terrific,” to quote The Los Angeles Times
5. It catapulted writer Sean Drummond and director Michael Matthews into Hollywood, where they’re now repped by William Morris, with Matthews set to direct Monster Problems, starring Dylan O’Brien (Maze Runner, Teen Wolf) for Paramount Players.
Accolades: The most awarded film at the 2018 Africa Movie Academy Awards, where it won five prizes, including Best Film.