The Wound

Institute History

  • 2017 Sundance Film Festival


Lonely, young factory worker Xolani travels to a remote mountain camp to tend teenage boys going through a traditional Xhola rite of passage. This year, Xolani is assigned to mentor Kwanda, a coddled Joburg boy who challenges the customs of the camp and is ostracized from other initiates. Kwanda, observant as he is insolent, quickly notices the attraction between Xolani and his fellow caregiver, volatile Vija. Xolani must choose between his passionate love for his childhood friend and heeding Kwanda’s exhortations to abandon his oppressive life and face an uncertain future.

In his first feature, director/co-writer John Trengove provides an unexpected glimpse into a secretive male-only cultural ritual fighting for relevance in an increasingly westernized world and orchestrates a complex, dynamic examination of sexuality, masculinity, and the clash between traditional and contemporary African values. Set “outside of society” in the Eastern Cape, The Wound’s exploration of the panic when one’s very identity is threatened makes for a universal and potent movie, as its protagonists grapple with conflicting conceptions of how to be a man.

— Heidi Zwicker

Screening Details

As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]