The Wound

Eastern Cape, South Africa. A lonely factory worker, Xolani, takes time off his job to assist during an annual Xhosa circumcision initiation into manhood. In a remote mountain camp that is off limits to women, young men, painted in white ochre, recuperate as they learn the masculine codes of their culture. In this environment of machismo and aggression, Xolani cares for a defiant initiate from Johannesburg, Kwanda, who quickly learns Xolani's best kept secret, that he is in love with another man. Having first explored male circumcision in his short film Ibhokhwe, South African director John Trengove revisits this topic and other rituals of masculinity in his first feature. The tension that builds inexorably throughout the film derives on the one hand from the young Kwanda who increasingly calls into question the patriarchal codes of the initiation, as well as the unbearable crisis building in Xolani as he must choose between the traditional world that he knows, and his own fulfillment.
by John Trengove
with Nakhane Touré, Bongile Mantsai, Niza Jay Ncoyini
South Africa / Germany / Netherlands / France 2016 Xhosa 88’ Colour


  • Nakhane Touré (Xolani)
  • Bongile Mantsai (Vija)
  • Niza Jay Ncoyini (Kwanda)


Director John Trengove
Screenplay John Trengove, Thando Mgqolozana, Malusi Bengu
Cinematography Paul Özgür
Music João Orecchia
Sound Design Matthew James
Production Design Bobby Cardoso, Solly Sithole
Costumes Lehasa Molloyi
Make-Up Smartie Olifant, Mthokozisi Nhlapo
Casting Cait Pansegrouw
Assistant Director Francois Coetzee
Producers Elias Ribeiro, Cait Pansegrouw
Co-Producers Michael Eckelt, Claudia Tronnier, Olaf Grunert, Trent, Batana Vundla, Marie Dubas, Eric Lagesse, Björn Koll, Bianca Isaac
Co-Production Riva Filmproduktion Hamburg
ZDF/Das kleine Fernsehspiel Mainz
ZDF/Arte Mainz
Oak Motion Pictures Amsterdam
Cool Take Pictures Johannesburg
Deuxieme Ligne Films Paris
Sampek Productions Paris
Edition Salzgeber Berlin
Figjam Entertainment Johannesburg

Produced by

Urucu Media

John Trengove

Born in 1978, he lives in Johannesburg in South Africa. After studying at the Tisch School of the Arts in New York, he directed television, documentaries and commercials. His miniseries Hopeville won numerous awards at international festivals. He also works as a theatre director and his stage play 'The Epicene Butcher' won the Amsterdam Fringe Festival award for best international production. His short film iBhokhwe (The Goat) screened in the Berlinale's Generation section and at over 20 other festivals. The Wound is his feature film debut.


2000 I'll Take You by Force on the Living Room Rug; short film 2002 Long Distance Love; short film 2003 Leather Family; short film · Breakfast; short film 2004 Say Hi to Bangkok; short film 2010 Disco 3000; short film 2013 Muscle Jew 2014 iBhokhwe (The Goat); short film · The Goat; short film, IFB Generation 2016 The Wound · The Wound 2023 Manodrome

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2023