The Durban International Film Festival's opening night film offers a gritty and authentic glimpse into the street life of one of South Africa’s largest and oldest townships.
Directed by Jahmil X. T. Qubeka, "Knuckle City" stars Bongile Mantsai as Dudu Nyakama, Thembekile Komani as Duke Nyakama, alongside Faniswa Yisa, Patrick Ndlovu, Siv Ngesi, Owen Sejake, Angela Sithole, Nomhle Nkonyeni and Zolisa Xaluva.
The film explores inherited toxic masculinity and the underbelly of the fighting world. It a riveting exploration of the psychology of a fighter from the Mdantsane township known as the boxing mecca of South Africa.
"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. With the boxing world rife with criminality, Dudu unwittingly enlists the help of his reckless but resourceful, gangster brother, who is fresh out of prison. Haunted by the ghost of their father, Dudu soon finds that the fight at home is far more challenging than any opponent he could possibly face in the ring.
“The film is a gritty and authentic glimpse into the street life of one of South Africa’s largest and oldest townships packaged in an entertaining and accessible feature film,” said producer Layla Swart.
“We believe the film is a tangible manifestation of the evolution of the South African narrative, a slice of life in a largely undocumented corner of the country. "Knuckle City" is a much-needed addition to the canon of South African cinema, where the less discussed aspects of the residue and repercussions of our collective national past culminate in the immediate issues confronting us in the present day.”
“We are very excited to be opening our 40th edition with this gritty raw film by Jahmil,” says Chipo Zhou, DIFF Festival Manager. “This is a film which we believe will do very well as a cinema release, with boxing as the means to tell the story, and its multi-layered narrative will resonate with audiences globally.”
"Knuckle City" opens at DIFF on Thursday, July 18. The red carpet premiere will be at Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (ICC).