Local movie thrills audience at largest film festival in Africa
Knuckle City, a film that immortalises the heritage of boxing in Mdantsane township, made its official premier on Thursday at the 40th Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), the largest film festival on the African continent from July 18 to 28, 2019 in Durban.
This is the 4th feature film by Mdantsane-born and internationally acclaimed filmmaker, Jahmil Xolani Qhubeka. The film is produced and edited by award-winning Layla Swart, together with Mzansi Magic.
Dissecting notions of inherited toxic masculinity and the underbelly of the fighting world, Knuckle City is a riveting exploration of the psychology of a fighter from the Mdantsane township that is also shot in East London.
A slice of street life, Knuckle City 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. The boxing world is rife with criminality, and Nyakama unwittingly enlists the help of his reckless but resourceful, gangster brother who’s coming out of jail.
The film stars Bongile Mantsai (who plays Mthunzi in Scandal!), Thembekile Komani, and the cast includes, amongst others; Faniswa Yisa, Patrick Ndlovu, Siv Ngesi, Owen Sejake, Angela Sithole, Nomhle Nkonyeni and Zolisa Xaluva.
MEC for the Department of Arts and Culture, Fezeka Bayeni and two cast members from Mdantsane are at the festival representing the province. Bayeni paid tribute to the late Nomhle Nkonyeni, who is also part of the film cast. “The Department will prioritise the film sector because of its potential in the economic development of the province. For this year we have received R15 million funding from the Economic Stimulus Fund,” she enthused.
The festival runs across 12 days, presenting over 180 screenings of current films from around the world, with strong focus on South African and African cinema. Screenings take place throughout Durban including township areas where cinemas are non-existent.