Inxeba (The Wound): Court rules that film is not hardcore porn

2018-06-28 11:31
Inxeba poster. (Supplied)

Inxeba poster. (Supplied)

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The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria has ruled that the Appeal Tribunal process for controversial film the Inxeba (The Wound) was legally flawed, and should be reviewed and set aside. This means that the film's hardcore pornography classification is overturned. 

The film, which depicts a sexual relationship between Xhosa initiates, has been the subject of a legal battle between the Film and Publication Board's (FPB's) Appeal Tribunal, the film's producers and the National House of Traditional Leaders, since its release last year. 

The drama started in July 2017, when the FPB gave the film a 16SLN rating, indicating it contained strong language, sex and nudity. 

The producers then approached the court after the Film and Publication Board's (FPB) Appeal Tribunal overturned this ruling, and gave it a rating of X18SNLVP. This essentially classified the film as hard core pornography.

The court ruled that Inxeba could be screened under an 18SNL age restriction, pending a review of the application in March.  

A late night application by the House of Traditional Rulers to prevent the film being shown in main-stream cinemas was dismissed with costs. They had earlier been behind protests, which led to screenings being suspended at several cinemas in the Eastern Cape.

Nkosi Mwelo Nonkonyana, the newly-elected chair of the Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders told City Press that the reason they opposed the film was because initiation was a sacred and sacrosanct rite of passage into manhood.

"You cannot make a joke about a ritual that people love. It is really very offensive," he said.

Heads of argument were presented on March 28.

Judge Justice Raulinga upheld his original judgment, giving himself time to deliberate on the matter.

Inxeba (The Wound) claimed eight South African Film and Television Awards (Safta) nominations, including for Best Actor, Best Directing and Best Film.

It also won 19 awards at 44 festivals in more than 25 countries worldwide, including South Africa. The film has been shortlisted for this year's Oscars in the category of Best Foreign Language Film.

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