This Is Not a Burial, It's a Resurrection
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    This Is Not a Burial, It's a Resurrection

    Directed by



    120 min


    Scope Expanded - 2021 Academy Award Submissions

    In a small village nestled amongst the pythonic mountains of land-locked Lesotho, an 80-year-old widow awaits the return of her only surviving family member. Her son; a migrant worker labouring in a South African coal mine. It is Christmas and he is due home. Sombre messengers deliver the news: Her son has died in a mining accident. Distraught by the sudden news of his untimely death, Mantoa struggles to find meaning in her existence.
    An invisible wall of bewilderment arises and stands between Mantoa and the outside world. God, the village, and reality too, appear further and further away. Consumed by grief, her yearning for death and reuniting with her family steadily grows. She yearns to be laid to rest in the local cemetery with her loved ones.
    Mantoa winds up her early affairs and makes arrangements for her own burial. Her plans are punctuated when she learns that the village is to be forcibly resettled due to the construction of a dam reservoir. The land will be flooded and the cemetery desecrated. Mantoa’s resolve is unwavering; igniting a collective spirit of defiance within the community. In the final dramatic moments of her life, Mantoa’s legend is forged and made eternal.


    • Special Jury Award for Visionary Filmmaking (World Cinema Dramatic) - Sundance FF



    Mary Twala Mhlongo
    Jerry Mofokeng Wa Makhetha
    Makhaola Ndebele
    Tseko Monaheng
    Siphiwe Nzima
    Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese
    Pierre De Villiers
    Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese
    Yu Miyashita

    Director's Statement

    I still know every texture of my grandmother’s house; its walls, its thatched roof, the smell of oak trees after rain. Soon it will be no more. Soon it will be razed, flooded and water will be channeled into the heart of South Africa.
    Communities are being erased en masse in the name of progress. Forgotten in a soulless march towards futurity. I am not for or against progress. I am more interested in interrogating the psychological, spiritual and social elements that come with it. New & old. Birth & death. An ecclesiastical reverence to the earth. Through Mantoa’s eyes, we see that there is a lot of darkness to face, but ultimately this is a story about the resilience of the human spirit.



    A striking and mesmerizing fictional debut [...] that marks out Mosese as a notable new voice in African cinema.

    Screen Daily

    This Is Not A Burial, It's A Resurrection is that rare gem of a film.

    The Playlist

    What the film reveals most of all is a demanding artist, endowed with a singular and fascinating voice, who knows how to brilliantly flirt with the border between the real and the invisible or the unspeakable. Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese is undoubtedly a talent with great potential.


    Beautiful and powerfully crafted, This Is Not A Burial, It's A Resurrection is the solidification of a new and compelling voice.

    812 Film Reviews

    A set of dimensions somehow captured in every exquisitely constructed, square-cut frame




    Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese

    Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese


    Arts and political activism can be a vehicle to bring change. Art does not spring out of a vacuum; it’s a mirror of a society, inspiring ideas that can foster change.

    Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese (1980, Lesotho) is a self-taught filmmaker and visual artist based in Berlin. He has participated in Berlinale Talents, Focus Features Africa First, Realness African Screenwriting Residency and Cinefondation’s Atelier. His film MOTHER, I AM SUFFOCATING. THIS IS MY LAST FILM ABOUT YOU. (2019) explored his experiences in his homeland Africa. This personal film was selected for the Final Cut workshop at the 2018 Venice IFF, where it won six awards. Lesotho took center stage again in his feature film THIS IS NOT A BURIAL, IT’S A RESURRECTION (2019), which was selected for the Biennale College Cinema, premiered in Venice and won the Special Jury Award for Visionary Filmmaking at Sundance FF.

    Selected Filmography