The Wound
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    The Wound

    Directed by

    South Africa, Germany, Netherlands, France


    88 min

    • Xhosa


    Eastern Cape, South Africa. A lonely factory worker, Xolani, takes time off his job to assist during an annual Xhosa circumcision initiation into manhood. In a remote mountain camp that is off limits to women, young men, painted in white ochre, recuperate as they learn the masculine codes of their culture. In this environment of machismo and aggression, Xolani cares for a defiant initiate from Johannesburg, Kwanda, who quickly learns Xolani's best kept secret, that he is in love with another man.


    • South African submission for the Academy Awards
    • Best First Feature - BFI London IFF
    • Grand Jury Prize - Mumbai IFF
    • FIPRESCI Prize for the Best Actor (Nakhane Touré) - Palm Springs IFF


    Labels & Line Ups


    Nakhane Touré
    Bongile Mantsai
    Niza Jay Ncoyini
    John Trengove
    Thando Mgqolozana
    Malusi Bengu
    Paul Özgür
    João Orecchia


    John Trengove's hard-edged but beautifully wrought study of clashing Xhosa models of masculinity will be an eye-opener to outsiders — and some South Africans too.

    Guy Lodge, Variety

    John Trengove’s first feature takes real chances, delivering a troubling portrait of the collision between communal and personal identity.

    Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter

    A powerful, visually creative and very topical film.

    Vladan Petkovic, Cineuropa

    The initial promise of a South African Brokeback Mountain broadens into a measured consideration of class, race, self-loathing and self-assertion in a compact but pleasingly complex drama.

    Allan Hunter, Screen Daily

    John Trengove

    John Trengove

    South Africa

    John Trengove is a Johannesburg-based director with a theatre-making degree from the University of Cape Town and a Masters in filmmaking from New York University. His work spans theatre, television, documentary, commercials, short film and experimental video. His critically acclaimed miniseries HOPEVILLE received a number of international accolades, including the Swiss Rose d’Or for best drama and an International Emmy nomination. His recent theatre work includes the dark comedy Love & Prozac, which is currently being adapted for television, and The Epicene Butcher, which won the Amsterdam Fringe Award for best international production and performed at the Edinburgh Festival in 2013. John’s short film, THE GOAT, premiered at the Berlinale and Toronto IFF in 2014 and earned him a best director award at the Mzanzi IFF. THE WOUND (2016) is his feature film debut.

    Selected Filmography