An opera. A film opera. The story of Noah's family and the building of the ark. Benjamin Britten wrote the opera in 1957, based on a libretto from the early 15th century. One single act, that tells of the dialogue with God. Unogumbe remains faithful to Britten whilst finding therein something all its own: Present-day South Africa. The background and metaphor for the existential state of humankind is life in the townships. The singing language is Xhosa, and the score was composed for African instruments. Arguably, the most important fresh interpretation of the original, is that Noah is a woman. She has to keep the family together, deal with her alcoholic husband, and what's more: build the ark. The rainbow is both symbol and strength. The rainbow is the future.
In 2005, this ensemble featuring South African opera star Pauline Malefane, won the Golden Bear for the film U-Carmen eKhayelitsha, directed by Mark Dornford-May.