The Wound Screen 8 articles

The Wound


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  • The film excels so long as it hangs back a bit, watching Xolani struggle to project the authority that his role demands, despite being acutely aware of his own vulnerability. Only toward the end does Trengove (who cowrote the screenplay with Thando Mgqolozana and Malusi Bengu) succumb to narrative expectation, engineering a predictable finale that registers as more obligatory than deeply felt. It’s a forgivable lapse, especially given that this is his first time at bat.

  • In John Trengove's debut feature, The Wound, passage into manhood is steeped in violence both physical and psychological... But despite the specificity of this subject matter, the film's themes of socialized masculinity and intolerance of non-conformity resonate far outside of this South African community.

  • A film whose subject matter is legible straight from its surface, The Wound nevertheless possesses the ability to surprise. This is a movie about the tyranny of tradition, the way that patriarchal values are transmitted by ritual, in large part to disguise some of the deeper, less savory lessons that sons must learn from their fathers.

  • The first image in “The Wound” is a waterfall, and there is no sound initially until we hear the rushing of the water down into the river below. The credits play against underwater noises — as if we have fallen into the river — and when the credits are over this sound blends into the motor of a cart in a warehouse where Xolani (Nakhane Touré) works. The careful sound design in this opening will have gently symbolic implications later on.

  • There’s much fascinating thematic discourse to wrestle with, of course, but what makes the film so exceptional is that director John Trengrove, in his debut, seems to understand the exhausting pain of longing and secrecy. The Wound unfolds like a thriller, one whose mission is to expose the past in an effort to set the men free. But at what cost?

  • The film depicts same-sex relationships in a frank, authentic, and visceral way, not commonly seen in the local mainstream TV and film media. The filmmakers hope that The Wound allows people a means to see some social issues with distance, be more introspective, and explore difficult subjects that they are not always able or willing to deal with directly. As Touré says, “To make something that was invisible, visible.”

  • Mr. Trengove shoots the film in intimate wide-screen, getting in close to the performers as their characters tamp down explosive feelings, often letting the spectacular landscapes behind them break down into soft-focus abstractions. His direction is perfectly judged up to and including the shudder-inducing ending.

  • A stunning debut from South African filmmaker John Trengove. . . . Nakhane Touré, an openly gay South African singer and novelist, is particularly good as the other, unmarried caregiver, whose fear and loneliness are palpable.

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