17th Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival

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9 – 12 September 2021

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Thanks to all who have entered films to this autumn’s festival. We will let you know about the selection status of your film by the 9th of August.

This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection

Available online

17 September – 11 October, 2020

Following the death of her only surviving relative, an elderly woman begins to make plans for her own funeral. Resistance and resentment build as her determination to be laid to rest in her ancestral home is disrupted by government plans to build a reservoir on the land.

Introduction

This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection

An introduction from filmmaker Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese

This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection

After the death of her son—her only surviving relative—an elderly woman reckons with her own sense of mortality. A story of community struggle begins to unfold as a government decision to build a reservoir interferes with the woman’s plan for her own burial. Set in a small village in the mountainous regions of Lesotho, Jeremiah Lemohang Mosese’s sophomore feature carefully grapples with the politics of land in contemporary nation states. Told through the lens of legend, the film illuminates the tension between ancestral land and modernity.

In this film, the spiritual world is entangled with the living and the presence of generations of ancestors are felt throughout. It is an enquiry into ecology, spirituality and indigenous relationships to land, life and bodies. In this rural mountain village, the community’s way of life feels at odds with the promise of resettlement that is being sold to them. Interior shots of the protagonist’s house in deep blues and red contrast with the pastel colours of the landscape in a country that has rarely been depicted on film.

Threads of collective responsibility and community empowerment are interwoven throughout the film, revealing a constant tension between the present and tradition. In a key scene, the Chief of the village notes, “every time I say the word progress my tongue rolls backwards. I can’t get myself to spit it out”—highlighting the village’s difficultly accepting a decision that was made on their behalf by people outside of their community. The resilient spirit of the elderly woman named Mantoa (played by Veteran South African actress Mary Twala Mhlongo), drives the film until its end—the final scene cements the woman’s legendary status. —Myriam Mouflih

Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese is a self taught filmmaker and visual artist from Lesotho, based in Berlin. His film ‘Mother, I am Suffocating. This is My Last Film About You’, was selected for Final Cut in Venice in 2018, where it won six awards. It premiered in the Berlinale Forum in 2019. Mosese was one of three filmmakers selected for Biennale College Cinema with his feature film ‘This Is Not A Burial, It’s A Resurrection’, which premiered at the Venice International Film Festival in 2019. Mosese is an alumnus of the Berlinale Talents (2011), Focus Features Africa First (2012), Realness African Screenwriting Residency (2017) and Cinefondation’s L’Atelier (2019).

Filmography

Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese is a self taught filmmaker and visual artist from Lesotho, based in Berlin. His film ‘Mother, I am Suffocating. This is My Last Film About You’, was selected for Final Cut in Venice in 2018, where it won six awards. It premiered in the Berlinale Forum in 2019. Mosese was one of three filmmakers selected for Biennale College Cinema with his feature film ‘This Is Not A Burial, It’s A Resurrection’, which premiered at the Venice International Film Festival in 2019. Mosese is an alumnus of the Berlinale Talents (2011), Focus Features Africa First (2012), Realness African Screenwriting Residency (2017) and Cinefondation’s L’Atelier (2019).

Director

Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese

UK Premiere

Production Country

Lesotho

Production Year

2019

Duration

120 mins

Dialogue Language

Sesotho

Subtitle Language

English

Producer

Cait Pansegrouw

Distributor

Justine Atkinson

Print Contact

Justine Atkinson

PODCAST — Episode 2, recorded

Producer Cait Pansegrouw in conversation with BFMAF programmer Myriam Mouflih about the film ‘This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection’.