The Wound

A tough and complex tale of closeted sexuality in South Africa.


Dir John Trengove
Prod Elias Ribeiro, Cait Pansegrouw
Scr John Trengove, Thando Mgqolozana, Malusi Bengu
With Nakhane Touré, Bongile Mantsai, Niza Jay Ncoyini
South Africa
UK Distribution Peccadillo Pictures

A traditional rite of passage ritual forms the backdrop for this powerful exploration of masculinity and unspoken queer desire. In the remote mountains of South Africa’s Eastern Cape, the teenage boys of the Xhosa community are initiated into manhood through an annual circumcision ritual. This painful ordeal is followed by two weeks healing, during which each initiate is assigned an elder to teach the culture’s codes of masculinity. Factory worker Xolani is tasked with caring for Kwanda, a petulant adolescent from Johannesburg. As the days pass, Kwanda begins to notice Xolani harbours a deep affection for fellow elder Vija, leading to growing tensions between the three men. Privileging a need for cultural authenticity, director John Trengove worked with a cast of exclusively native Xhosa speakers, many of whom are non-actors. The result is a visually breathtaking, thematically complex meditation on the wounds that exist on the surface and those deeper scars that never truly heal.

Michael Blyth

Festival guests

These members of the filmmaking team are expected to attend the festival:

  • John Trengove, Director; Nakhane Touré, Cast

See the full list of visiting festival guests. Please note that we can't guarantee guest attendance at any particular screening.