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.
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A superb exploration of masculinity through a queer lens in an environment openly hostile to that very lens. Blending ethnography and drama the rough camera work is a perfect match for the frantic state of emergent manhood. Devastating. 4 stars
Saw this at New Directors / New Film in NYC. What a tremendous debut feature! The setting, the subject and the respectful eye of the director just match. The visual style is fresh, sincere, not pretentious. Some pretty powerful moments. Great editing and sound design.
The impact of traditional masculinity reverberates throughout most of the interactions, and to the film's credit it never explicitly attributes this to the ritual at its core - it's also interwoven into class & sexuality. It's so rich in specificity that I was in awe to be seeing these actors, in this location, express queer intimacy. Only saddened that it doesn't find the hope encouraged by this. 3.5