Academic journal article Journal of Religion and Film

The Wound

Academic journal article Journal of Religion and Film

The Wound

Article excerpt

The Wound (2016), directed by John Trengove

Xolani works in a factory in Johannesburg, but every year he acts as a "caregiver" to the young "initiates" who participate in the traditional tribal ritual of manhood, as they undergo circumcision and live in the woods for several weeks. Not all the city boys participate in this ritual anymore, but the older generation encourages them to do so as they believe it is an important link to their heritage and their values. Xolani is asked by a family friend to be the caregiver of his son, Kwanda, as the father believes his son needs to return to traditional values and identity.

Another caregiver is Xolani's old friend Viya, and they meet up every year to help with these rituals. But they are also secretly gay lovers, even though Viya is married.

The situation becomes tense as Kwanda suspects the relationship between Xolani and Viya is a sexual one. Kwanda is also gay, which his fellow initiates also suspect, and this creates problems for his acceptance among them. Xolani is caught in the middle, trying to help Kwanda but also not wanting to lose his relationship with Viya. Kwanda believes that it is wrong to hide his own gay identity, just as it is wrong for Xolani and Viya to hide theirs; but Viya as a closeted married man cannot accept his own gay identity, and Xolani does not want to lose his relationship with Viya. …

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