Son of Man, which was filmed in the township of Khayelitsha and in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, will be released in cinemas on 20 June. This new and adventurous interpretation of the New Testament was produced and directed by Mark Dornford-May in collaboration with the pioneering Dimpho Di Kopane theatre troupe and choir network.
As with his first film, U-Carmen eKhayelitsha – the classic Carmen opera translated into the Xhosa tongue —traditional dance, songs and rhythms infuse this film.
The well known biblical story of Jesus is based in southern Africa. At the time of Jesus’ birth the country of is wracked by violence, poverty and sectarianism. The neighbouring Alliance has invaded to restore “peace’ at gunpoint. Bloody street battles accompany the neighbouring dictatorship’s incursion into its weaker satellite. Promises of a transition to open democratic rule accompany summary executions and brutal massacres.
As Jesus grows and witnesses the inhumanity of the world he lives in, his angelic guardians offer him an escape to the heavens. He refuses. This is his world and he must try to save it from the work of evil men and from the darkness working through them.
As an adult, he travels to the capital, gathering followers from the armed factions of rebels that crisscross the land. He demands that his followers give up their guns and confront their corrupt rulers with a vision of non-violent protest and solidarity. Inevitably, he attracts the attention of the Judean tribal leaders who have struck a power-sharing deal with the aloof Governor Pilate. The Son of Man must be brought down and destroyed. It should be another simple “disappearance’ like any other…