11 December 2019
Sew the Winter to My Skin (2018)
2018 film Sew the Winter to My Skin isn’t an easy watch – it’s set in the 50s when racial hatred was peaking – but it is an important one.
It’s written from a journalist’s viewpoint, recalling a hero hidden in the shadows who robs from the rich white farmers to help his oppressed community. It’s a poignant look inside the oppressive government and how there were rebels – like sheep thief John Kepe – willing to fight the cruel, unethical, immoral and violent system. Some of the scenes are graphic, but it is at its core a seriously good movie.
It’s directed by Jahmil XT Qubeka, who has mastered the craft of storytelling in cinema over decades in the business. And if you needed any more reason to stream it, it was SA’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 2019 Academy Awards.
You don’t need to be South African to understand it or its significance, writes Stephen Dalton from hollywoodreporter.com: “Dramatising the true story of a notorious outlaw is an operatic mix of Western-style manhunt thriller and boldly experimental biopic. Jahmil tells this unorthodox adventure yarn with great stylistic verve and minimal dialogue, relying heavily on visual signposting, music and onscreen, punctuated by the occasional fragment of lucid speech.”