Inxeba's creators defend its artistic merit in court

Supporters of Contralesa gathered in court yesterday to voice their opposition to the screening of the movie, with the argument that the film is a disgrace to the culture of initiation.
Supporters of Contralesa gathered in court yesterday to voice their opposition to the screening of the movie, with the argument that the film is a disgrace to the culture of initiation.
Image: SANDILE NDLOVU

After cleaning up at the South African Film and Television awards (Saftas) at the weekend, local movie Inxeba: The Wound's artistic and dramatic merit was once again questioned yesterday.

Creators of the movie were at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria to defend the movie against a rating of X18 which deemed it to be in the same category as pornography.

The Film and Publications Board's appeals tribunal reclassified the movie last month from its original 16SNL.

The courtroom was packed with members of the Congress for Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) and the Man and Boy Foundation, the two organisations that complained to the tribunal about the film. They said it was sexual and insensitive to the culture of initiation.

Speaking for the creators Urucu Media and distributors Indigenous Films, Advocate Steven Budlender argued that the matter was not about the movie being insensitive, but whether the tribunal followed proper procedure, law and its jurisdiction in reclassifying the movie.

The creators of the movie argued that they were not given ample time to give their arguments on the artistic and dramatic nature of the movie.

Budlender also argued that the movie only showed three sexual scenes, which were important for the ending of the movie. "If this is porn then the producers are a disgrace to pornography," Budlender said.

He argued that Inxeba: The Wound's dramatic and artistic value was also recognised by the Saftas and by a plethora of awards that the movie has collected internationally.

Judge Joseph Rauliga argued that the Safta awards were irrelevant at this point, as the tribunal had already made its decision.

The tribunal's Advocate Viwe Notshe said they were pressed for time and could not afford to postpone the tribunal hearing on the classification because it had to make a quick decision on the rating of the movie as it was already out in the public, and that it was being viewed by under-age children.

Advocate Dali Mpofu, who spoke for Contralesa and the Man and Boy Foundation, argued that it was impossible for this application to proceed because it was based on lies and misinterpretations.

He said the creators of the movie were confused as to what the powers of the judge were in the matter and have been misleading the public about the recent reclassification of the movie.

He said: "It is based on a racist and colonial mentality of the backwardness of black culture and superiority of white culture."

The high court hearing on the movie continues.

Meanwhile, a group of vendors were spotted selling T-shirts opposed to the movie outside the court. T-shirts were selling from R95 to R150.

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