South African auteur Oliver Hermanus (The Endless River, SFF 2015) returns with this stunning queer romance and military drama. A favourite at Venice.
Set in 1981 South Africa, the film follows beautiful and shy Nicholas, a closeted 18-year-old at the threshold of adulthood. This coming-of-age story takes a sudden turn when Nicholas is conscripted to complete two years of compulsory military service defending the apartheid regime. To be a “moffie”, a homophobic slur in Afrikaans, is to be weak or effeminate – perceived as the worst thing a soldier can be. Nicholas’s need to survive his oppressive tour is complicated as he struggles to suppress his burgeoning feelings towards a fellow recruit. Hermanus’s complex drama mixes chilling suspense with delicate romance, in a valiant adaptation of André-Carl van der Merwe’s acclaimed memoir.