Following the censorship controversy over South African filmmaker Jahmil X.T. Qubeka’s Of Good Report, at the 34th Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), in Durban, South Africa, last month, the film is now officially “unbanned,” after opening in South African theaters 2 weeks ago, on August 9th!
Following the refusal to classify the film, citing that it “promotes child abuse & pornography,” the South African Film and Publications Board reversed their decision and gave the film the US equivalent of an R-rating.
The film was not screened in any of its allocated slots during the festival, as a result of the refusal for classification and so could not be in competition; however, the Durban International Film Festival acknowledged the film’s achievements in stimulating worldwide debate and highlighting important issues in South African society. Festival manager Peter Machen therefore announced a new annual award for Artistic Bravery, the first of which was given to Of Good Report director, Qubeka.
Described as an homage to classic film noir, Of Good Report tells the story of a demented school teacher’s attempts to get away with the brutal murder of a teenage beauty queen.
The filmmaker calls it a “serial killer origins story about how a social misfit turns into an inadequate man hell-bent on satisfying his shameful lust. It is Little Red Riding Hood, told from the wolf’s perspective.“
TIFF, where it’ll screen next, says Of Good Report is “superbly filmed in black and white,” and that it “takes us well out of our comfort zones with the boldness of an artistic and political maverick. Audiences should be forewarned: the film’s depictions of Sithole’s crimes and their aftermath is heavy viewing that may disturb even seasoned cinema-goers, and is bound to jolt and to challenge usually complacent representations of South African — and universal — morality.“
Mothusi Magano stars in the film, along with Petronella Tshuma.
It’s produced by Mike Auret and Luzuko Dilima (Spier Films).
It’s out in theaters in South Africa; let’s hope a Stateside festival picks it up – preferably one in New York – so that I can see it!
Here’ the first full trailer for the film (promo poster underneath):
And here’s the early promo poster: