Sundance 2017 Preview: South African Drama ‘The Wound’ Wants to Challenge Narrow Depictions of “African Masculinity”

2 December 2016


The Wound 252

The 2017 Sundance Film Festival has begun unveiling its lineup with today’s announcement of the 66 films selected for U.S. Competition, World Competition and NEXT sections. Scrubbing the list to identify titles to profile on this blog, given our interests, check out “The Wound” from South African filmmaker John Trengove.

Selected for the World Dramatic Competition category, “The Wound” – a South Africa, Germany, Netherlands, France co-production – tells the story Xolani, a lonely Xhosa factory worker who 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.

The Wound was co-written by John Trengove, Thando Mgqolozana and Malusi Bengu and produced by Urucu Media. It stars multi-talented musician and novelist, Nakhane Touré in his first ever film-role, alongside Bongile Mantsai and Niza Jay Ncoyini. It was shot entirely in South Africa with an all-male Xhosa cast.

“What a privilege to have worked with this fearless cast and insanely talented team of collaborators. I am so grateful for the many Xhosa men who contributed in big ways and small ways, and, miraculously, trusted me to make this film. Whatever comes next, we made ‘The Wound’ with our eyes and hearts wide open,” Says Trengove.

The film was developed with the assistance of The Hubert Bals Fund and ARTE International Prize. The Department of Trade and Industry and The National Film and Video Foundation supported production and the film presold to broadcasters ARTE France and ZDF in Germany. International Sales will is handled by Pyramide in Paris.

The film’s intended release in South Africa is July 2017. This is John Trengove’s debut feature film. For more information about The Wound, visit