S.Africa bans coming-of-age film from public cinemas
South Africa's film censorship authorities on Wednesday elevated the age restriction imposed on a controversial Oscar-shortlisted coming-of-age film, effectively banning it from being screened at public cinemas.
The film came under fire for lifting the veil on secret initiation rites practised by one of the country's largest ethnic groups and exposing taboos around gay love and sex.
In a statement the film and publication board tribunal said it has re-classified the age rating of the movie "Inxeba – The Wound", from 16 to 18 years.
"A rating of X18 means that the material can only be distributed from designated adult premises," the board said in a statement
"This means the film cannot be screened in cinemas or any other platform that is not a designated adult premise as defined by the Film and Publications Act no 96 of 1996 as amended," it added.
The movie delves into the world of ritual initiations in the country's Xhosa community, following the experiences of an initiate and two older men who all experience same-sex attraction.
Complaints were lodged by the country's association of traditional leaders and The Men and Boy Foundation, a non-profit mentorship group, accusing it of inaccurately portraying the Xhosa initiation tradition and flouting cultural norms and practices.
"The complaints were largely based on the perceived cultural insensitivity and distortion of the Xhosa circumcision tradition... (and) strong language in the film," said the board.
Screening of the movie was cancelled at some cinemas in the country following its release early this month amid threats of disruption and some of its crew members have received threats of violence.
The critically-acclaimed film was short-listed for the "best foreign language film" category for the Academy Awards, but failed to make it to nomination.