Johannesburg – The film, Inxeba (The Wound), will be back on mainstream cinemas on Friday pending a high court review, lodged in an attempt to try and get the movie's porn rating overturned.
Pending a review application on March 28, the movie could be screened again from March 9, senior Judge Neil Tuchten said in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday.
The movie can now be screened under and 18SNL age restriction.
The film's producers, speaking via a statement issued by Mad Moth Communications' David Alex Wilson, said their urgent application, which sought to reverse the X18 rating, was granted.
The producers had requested a review of the decision of the Film and Publication Board's (FPB) Appeal Tribunal which had awarded Inxeba a rating of X18SNLVP, overturning the FBP rating of 16LS – which essentially classified the film as hard core pornography.
The urgent application had also sought an urgent interim court order, allowing the movie to be screened again.
In its papers, the FPB, represented by Motsoeneng Bill Attorneys, argued that it stood by its original classification of 16LS and therefore supported the application.
Wilson said the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) in Gauteng, The Man and Boy Foundation and the FPB's Appeals Tribunal all opposed the application, lodged by Webber Wentzel on behalf of the producers and distributor, Indigenous Film Distribution.
"All opposing parties eventually capitulated on the question of urgent interim relief and the court then granted an urgent interim order instructing the film to be screened, pending a thorough review of the Appeals Tribunal decision," Wilson said.
The High Court then ruled that the X rating be removed from the 18 classification with immediate effect, while it awaits affidavits of representation from all affected parties, both pro and opposed to the decision of the Appeals Tribunal, Wilson added.
Producer Cait Pansegrouw said: "I am hopeful that the capitulation of the Tribunal, Contralesa Gauteng and the Man and Boy Foundation to remove the X rating, will assist in ensuring that the violent acts performed in opposition to the film are brought to an end, and that members of the public who wish to exercise their right to engage with Inxeba are no longer prohibited from doing so."
Getting back onto screens in mainstream cinemas was a vindicated victory for the film, its director John Trengove said.
"…but the South African film and arts community still deserves to hear a real explanation of how the Tribunal arrived at such an embarrassing violation of our legal and constitutional rights in the first place.
"We look forward to more clarity on this score in the weeks to come."
The film's distributor, Helen Kuun of Indigenous Film Distribution, also described the ruling as a vindication.
"We are vindicated by the court order against a Tribunal ruling which was simply unlawful and could not reasonably be justified by anyone who has seen Inxeba.
"Now that we have secured legal means by way of a court order, to make the film available to all those who want to see it publicly, we urge fans to go out there and show their support by seeing it in cinemas."
Speaking to News24 outside court, Nkululeko Nxesi, who spoke for Contralesa and the Man and Boy Foundation, said by attending the court case, traditional leaders had taken a stand.
"No one can just come here and shoot a movie that insults you and degrades our culture."
Nxesi said he was sure they would win the matter on March 28.
"We have [a] strong case and South Africans and our communities are behind us."
He said the right to freedom of expression did not trump that of human dignity.
"We are here to protect our children and our mothers. This movie also shows sacred traditions observed in the Xhosa culture and does so in a distorted manner."
Nxesi said the movie revealed things that were not meant to be revealed about the Xhosa culture.
He said it was not true that the organisation was homophobic.
"At home in my village there are gays and lesbians, in my family there are gays and lesbians, and some of my friends are gays and lesbians. We work with gays and lesbians. What we are saying is that no sex takes place in the mountains, even heterosexual couples are not allowed to have sex there."