‘Men are wolves’

2013-08-04 14:01

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Director Jahmil Qubeka and the stars of the unbanned film Of Good Report lit up the red carpet at the film’s premiere in Cape Town on Friday.

Exuberance and laughter filled the packed cinema theatre at the V&A Waterfront in the run-up to the much-anticipated viewing.

“This is an emotional night for us. We’re just so glad to have an audience,” said actress Petronella Tshuma, speaking before the screening at Cinema Nouveau.

Tshuma (23) stars as 16-year-old Nolitha Ngubane, whose sexual relationship with her teacher, Parker Sithole, portrayed by Mothusi Magano, sparked “child pornography” claims by the Film and Publications Board, which banned the film last month.

The appeals committee overturned the ruling and the film was classified as 16SNVL (sex, nudity, violence and language) instead.

On Friday, Qubeka told the audience that he never anticipated such a furore – not in his “wildest, most narcissistic dreams”.

Extra seats were carried into the cinema to cater for the impressive turn-out.

The film’s stars – including Tina Jaxa of Madam and Eve fame and Tshamano Sebe of the SABC sitcom Stokvel – sat in the back row of the cinema. The audience also included Philip Miller, creator of the film’s extraordinary score, which combines chilling noises, chants and music.

They moved to the front for a discussion after the screening.

“Can the main actor actually speak?” was the first question from the audience, sending ripples of laughter through the assembled cast and crew.

The main character does not utter a word throughout the movie.

But Magano, whose earlier credits include Hotel Rwanda and Tsotsi, proved himself vocally able, citing beer as a great help while preparing for the challenging part.

In response to the inevitable “what inspired you” question, Qubeka talked about the war of the sexes – or rather, men’s “war against women”.

“Men are wolves, and I have personal insight into this.

“We live in a country where gender-based violence is insane. Violence against women has been prevalent in my life. Women got beaten up and then strangely you still had to engage with the perpetrators afterwards.”

Qubeka called on more South African female film makers to tell local stories.

“I feel really, really passionate about this. The South African film industry is dominated by men, by wolves. We need more female voices and perspectives,” he said.

Qubeka recruited Tshuma in a Durban nightclub during the Durban International Film Festival two years ago.

She recalled: “The music was really loud and he came up to me and said, ‘Do you wanna be in my movie?’ I thought whatever, but wrote my number on a card ... Now I am, well, speechless.”

The screening was supported by City Press and radio station Cape Talk 567. Of Good Report premiered in Johannesburg last night.

Qubeka said it took two and a half years to write the script and 23 days to shoot the film. “Making the film was bittersweet in many ways. It was tough on these guys.

“I mean some of these actors still haven’t been paid!” said Qubeka, laughing.

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