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Domoina Ratsara

The intersection between (often toxic) masculinity and tradition is a theme in the air at the Durban International Film Festival this year. (Hope, a feature film by Themba Ntuli tackles many of the same issues as Inxeba through the story of a young student who gets involved in a gay relationship once he arrives at university.)

With Inxeba, John Trengove shows a mastery of his subject even though he is exploring a culture that is not his. Some feel he has no right to do so, but challenging tradition is always going to lead to controversy.

What he and his cast achieve is remarkable. Instead of provoking disgust, the creators succeed, through their intimate film, in drawing the viewer in and engaging with them. At first one is left uneasy by the tough traditional circumcision scenes.

But by the end? I felt empathy, understanding and compassion.

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The intersection between (often toxic) masculinity and tradition is a theme in the air at the Durban International Film Festival this year. (Hope, a feature film by Themba Ntuli tackles many of the same issues as Inxeba through the story of a young student who gets involved in a gay relationship once he arrives at university.)

With Inxeba, John Trengove shows a mastery of his subject even though he is exploring a culture that is not his. Some feel he has no right to do so, but challenging tradition is always going to lead to controversy.

What he and his cast achieve is remarkable. Instead of provoking disgust, the creators succeed, through their intimate film, in drawing the viewer in and engaging with them. At first one is left uneasy by the tough traditional circumcision scenes.

But by the end? I felt empathy, understanding and compassion.

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