Controversial movie on its way

Thulani Gqirana

THE South African movie that was banned at a film festival is to be screened in the Eastern Cape next week.

The Jahmil XT Qubeka film, Of Good Report, was barred from opening this year’s Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) last month, after four Film and Publication Board (FPB) classifiers found there were elements of child pornography about 28 minutes into the movie.

Of Good Report, co-produced by Port Elizabeth’s Luzuko Dilima, premieres tonight in Cape Town, after the production team won an appeal against the FPB last week.

Dilima said the team were overwhelmed by the response and support they had received throughout the saga.

“Globally, [people] are curious to see the film that has been banned in South Africa. Locally, we have been met with outstanding support by lawyers and law firms willing to take on our case on a pro bono basis, as well as the Creative Workers’ Union, among others.

“Fortunately one of our producers, Michael Auret, an attorney, handled the appeal process, which was ruled in our favour,” he said.

“It was rather disappointing for everyone involved not be able to premiere our work on Madiba’s birthday at the [DIFF], but, alas, thanks to the decision by the FPB to ban our film, we found ourselves having to defend ourselves against controversy instead of basking in the glory that is associated with being the first South African film to open the international festival.”

Those who had seen the movie could not believe that “South Africa was ready to deprive them of the opportunity to view such high-level artistry”, he said.

“Fortunately for us, other countries are progressive [and] embrace art, which is something we would love to see [here].”

Of Good Report will be screened in Cape Town at the V&A Waterfront Ster Kinekor tonight; at Brooklyn in Pretoria tomorrow afternoon, and in Rosebank, Johannesburg, tomorrow evening.

“The Eastern Cape premieres will follow the week after at The Bridge in Port Elizabeth and Vincent in East London, then Durban and Bloemfontein,” he said.

The movie is about a small-town high school teacher, Parker Sithole (Mothusi Magano), who has an affair with one of his pupils, 16- year-old Nolitha Ngubane (played by an adult, Petronella Tshuma).

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