SA selects hard-hitting boxing film 'Knuckle City' for Oscars International Feature Film category

Bongile Mantsai in a scene from 'Knuckle City.' (Screengrab: YouTube)
Bongile Mantsai in a scene from 'Knuckle City.' (Screengrab: YouTube)

Cape Town – South Africa has selected Knuckle City as its submission for the International Feature Film category at the Oscars.

The film had its international premiere in the Contemporary World Cinema section at the Toronto Film Festival. 

Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa congratulated the team behind the film on Twitter.

The film which follows the journey of Dudu Nyakama, a down and out ageing boxer as he struggles to attain the one fight that he believes will uplift his fractured family. Contending that the underbelly of the boxing world is rife with criminality, Dudu unwittingly enlists the help of his reckless but resourceful, gangster brother who's coming out of jail. Haunted by the ghost of their father, Dudu soon finds that the fight at home is far more challenging than any opponent he can face in the ring.

Knuckle City is director Jahmil X. T. Qubeka's fourth feature film. Another one of Jahmil's films, Sew the Winter to My Skin, was also South Africa's 2018 Oscars submission. The film was not nominated but won several other awards.

Knuckle City's Bongile Mantsai won the best actor prize for his portrayal of Dudu at South Africa's Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) where the movie opened the 40th edition of the event, while National Film and Video Foundation CEO, Makhosazana Khanyile was confident when he announced the Oscar selection.

"The film is as hard-hitting as its title suggests," he said. "It's quintessentially South African but also a very universal tale and touches on so many themes making it dark and relatable all at once."


Compiled by Bashiera Parker (Sources: The Hollywood Reporter, Channel24)

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