Pretoria - The X-rated ban on the controversial Xhosa initiation film Inxeba (The Wound) was on Tuesday temporarily lifted by agreement between the parties.
The film will for the time being be distributed with an 18 age restriction, which means that it may be screened at all cinemas.
The lifting of the ban is only temporarily, pending the outcome of review proceedings before the court, which will be heard on March 28.
The producers turned to the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, on Tuesday for an urgent order to lift the ban.
Judge Neil Tuchten was, however, told by Advocate Steven Budlender that the parties agreed that the X-rated ban be lifted, pending the review proceedings.
The main argument of the applicant on its court papers is that as things now stand - the classification as hardcore pornography - the film can only be viewed at “adult premises” aka “sex shops” and no longer at mainstream cinemas.
Indigenous Film Distribution Ltd and Urucu media Lt want the court to review and set aside this X-rated classification.
The Film and Publication Appeal Tribunal said it reclassified the film from a 16 age restriction to X18 following numerous complaints by cultural organisations, who objected to the homosexuality depicted in the film, as well as the violence and vulgar language.
The Films and Publication Board, which initially classified it with a 16 age restriction, is not opposing the review application. It said it stood by its rating of 16 and it does not agree with the X-rating given by the Tribunal.
Members of cultural organisations, however, on Tuesday vowed to fight the age restriction when the parties come back to court at the end of this month. They are maintaining that the film should be barred from public viewing.
Nkululeko Nxesi, of the Man and Boy Foundation, said outside court that they regarded the film as offensive and disrespectful. He said it is vulgar, it misrepresents traditional initiation and it incited rape and violence.
“The ban has been lifted for now, but the war is far from over,” he said.