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Wilfred Okiche

South Africa’s Inxeba takes a stark, unflinching look at black African masculinity by taking a taboo subject in our societies – same-sex love – and situating it in an even more hushed setting, Xhosa initiation from boyhood to manhood.

It could all go very wrong, but Inxeba is very tastefully done, respectful towards the culture it depicts but revealing enough to draw viewers into a previously forbidden world with the utmost sensitivity. Finely acted and brilliantly directed by John Trengove with easy, natural dialogue, Inxeba builds its world with rough and intimate camera angles, lovely nature shots and seemingly effortless scenes.

Until the over-the-top ending, there was barely a false note in the film and a particular breathtaking scene involving the two leads and a waterfall deserves a spot on the Most Beautiful Love Scenes Ever Put to Film list.

Inxeba is likely to draw comparisons with the 2005 Hollywood film Brokeback Mountain but such comparisons, while easy to make, would be doing Trengove’s film a grave disservice. The power, grace and singularity of the story, coupled with the skilled execution, demands that Inxeba be approached on its own merits. And its merits are numerous. To see it is to feel a slice of real life.

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South Africa’s Inxeba takes a stark, unflinching look at black African masculinity by taking a taboo subject in our societies – same-sex love – and situating it in an even more hushed setting, Xhosa initiation from boyhood to manhood.

It could all go very wrong, but Inxeba is very tastefully done, respectful towards the culture it depicts but revealing enough to draw viewers into a previously forbidden world with the utmost sensitivity. Finely acted and brilliantly directed by John Trengove with easy, natural dialogue, Inxeba builds its world with rough and intimate camera angles, lovely nature shots and seemingly effortless scenes.

Until the over-the-top ending, there was barely a false note in the film and a particular breathtaking scene involving the two leads and a waterfall deserves a spot on the Most Beautiful Love Scenes Ever Put to Film list.

Inxeba is likely to draw comparisons with the 2005 Hollywood film Brokeback Mountain but such comparisons, while easy to make, would be doing Trengove’s film a grave disservice. The power, grace and singularity of the story, coupled with the skilled execution, demands that Inxeba be approached on its own merits. And its merits are numerous. To see it is to feel a slice of real life.

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