The setting for director John Trengove’s first feature film, The Wound, is the traditional Xhosa initiation ritual, ukwaluka. Considering the secretive nature of the cultural practice, there is no doubt that the film will stir a lot of controversy amongst local audiences.
Although the film is yet to be released here in SA, it was recently screened at the internationally acclaimed Sundance Film Festival in Utah. We caught up with author, singer and lead actor in the movie, Nakhane Touré, who was at the screening, to chat about his experience at Sundance and get a behind the scenes look at the creative process of crafting such a hard hitting film. The SAMA award winner makes his big screen debut in The Wound as Xolani, a man who previously went through the ritual and acts as a caregiver to the young initiates, and as suggested by the trailer, he also struggles with his own repressed homosexuality.
The movie deals with incredibly tough subject matter, what was that like that for you as a writer and actor to work with?
The one thing that I kept on reminding myself as a performing artist was to be open. To be open to every possibility, whether it be ‘good’ or ‘bad’. There were days during the shoot that were very enjoyable, when everybody was laughing. And there were days that were very difficult to get through. Art is difficult. It’s enjoyable (and this is mostly when the work is done), but it’s a process of so much hard work. So being closed up would have served no good. I remember one day we were filming an important scene in the film – it took about 4 days to get right – and I had said something about my character; my director turned to me and said, “No. Don’t judge him”. It was such an eye-opening moment for me that I carried not only through the shoot, but through to my life as well.
How was it received at the festival?
All the reviews that I have read so far have been incredibly positive. Up until the world premiere on the 22nd of January, I hadn’t seen the final cut, so I didn’t really know what to expect. Film is such a collaborative medium, one never knows what the final product will be like. When I finally watched it, I remember feeling so proud of the film, and of myself.
Please tell us a bit about your experience of the festival.
Besides the cold (I’m talking about -8 here, which the locals call ‘mild’ ) it’s been a great experience. I met some press who had seen the film before the premiere who really loved the it, and were moved by it. It’s mad at Sundance. It’s almost as if the festival takes over the entire town, and every conversation that you hear is about film. I also performed at the ASCAP Music Cafe, and that was a beautiful experience. There were a handful of people who knew my music, but the audience was amazing: receptive, attentive and loving. I played two shows that I will never forget.
When will the movie be released here in SA?
We are looking at later on in the year. Our film festivals start around June or so.
Follow Nakhane Touré to keep up will all of his adventures. And keep an eye on the Durban International Film Festival which runs from the 13th to the 23rd of July for the South African premiere of what we don’t doubt will be an incredibly important and eye-opening movie.