Mary Twala swansong gunning for an Oscar - here’s where you can watch it

The late Mary Twala as the widow Mantoa in her final film, 'This Is Not a Burial, It's a Resurrection'.
The late Mary Twala as the widow Mantoa in her final film, 'This Is Not a Burial, It's a Resurrection'.
Image: Supplied

Late legendary actress Mary Twala is in the running for an Oscar for her contribution in This Is Not A Burial, It’s A Resurrection.

Mam' Mary died at Netcare Park Lane Private Hospital in Johannesburg in July after falling ill.

The film is directed by Lesotho-born and Berlin-based director Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese.

It was set in the mountains of Lesotho, which opens with an elderly widow named Mantoa, played by Mam’ Mary, who was grieving the loss of her son.

Determined to die and be laid to rest with her family, her plans are interrupted when she discovers that the village and its cemetery will be forcibly resettled to make way for a dam reservoir. Refusing to let the dead be desecrated, she finds a new will to live and ignites a collective spirit of defiance within her community.

Mam’ Mary delivered her swansong performance in the film which has now won early international acclaim.

The film starts its Oscar-qualifying run on November 27 at Ster Kinekor Tygervalley in Cape Town and at Ster Kinekor Sandton in Johannesburg.

The film will screen until December 4, in line with the rules for qualifying films for the upcoming 93rd Academy Awards, which require films to screen for seven days to qualify for nomination by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

In a statement provided to TshisaLIVE, producer Cait Pansegrouw, of lauded production company URUCU, said, “Our film will be Lesotho’s first ever Oscar entry. This is a historic moment.

“It was made under such humble and challenging circumstances, but it continues to amaze us as it takes on a life of its own. I am exceedingly proud and so thankful for everything that it has achieved.”

The film won the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Visionary Filmmaking at Sundance earlier this year. 

“It offers a vivid, beautifully crafted reflection on identity, community and the tension between respecting age-old traditions and accepting the seemingly unstoppable march of progress,” said Screen International's Allan Hunter.

Helen Kuun, MD of Indigenous Film Distribution, stated that the movie continues to travel internationally, and has taken home 21 awards to date.

“Mary Twala’s performance is astounding and we look forward to sharing the film with South African audiences during this limited qualifying run. It will be theatrically released country-wide in 2021.”

It also stars film and television icon Jerry Mofokeng, Makhaola Ndebele and Tseko Monaheng.


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