The late Mary Twala’s award-winning swan song film opens in cinemas next month

After wowing audiences at international film festivals and scooping multiple awards, This Is Not A Burial, It’s A Resurrection, the film starring the late iconic actress Mary Twala, opens in cinemas across SA in May. The film, the last one in which Somizi’s mother acted before she died, is directed by Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese and was the first film from Lesotho, made by a Mosotho filmmaker, to screen at an international festival.
The film has won a string of international awards and gained widespread acclaim around the world, particularly for its star. The veteran actress died in a Johannesburg hospital in July 2020 after falling ill. She had been in and out of hospital for several months. Her work on the film, which was her “swan song”, has been celebrated worldwide.
Some of the awards it won include the Best Interpretation Award for Mary at the Festival du Nouveau Cinema, Montreal, Canada; the Firebird Award for Best Actress, Firebird Award for Best Film and FIPRESCI Prize for Young Talent at the Hong Kong International Film Festival; Carmel Competition Winner for Best International Film at the Haifa International Film Festival, Israel; Grand Prize for Best International New Talent at the Taipei Film Festival; and other awards at major international festivals.
Mary’s son Somizi expressed pride in his late mother when she bagged an award.
Taking to his Instagram at the time, Somizi likened his mother’s life to that of other great women such as Winnie Madikizela-Mandela when he said: “She didn’t die. She multiplied. She stays winning.”
The film also stars film and television icon Jerry Mofokeng Wa Makhetha, Makhaola Ndebele and Tseko Monaheng. The visually striking drama, set in the mountains of Lesotho, opens with an elderly widow named Mantoa (Mary Twala) grieving the loss of her son.
Determined to die and be laid to rest with her family, her plans are interrupted when she discovers the village and its cemetery will be forcibly resettled to make way for a dam reservoir. Refusing to let the dead be desecrated, she finds a new will to live and ignites a collective spirit of defiance within her community.
For director Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, the film is deeply personal.
“When I was a child, my family was evicted from our home. My grandmother’s village is undergoing forced resettlement right now. My experience of displacement has significantly impacted who I am and how I see the world. Urucu believed in me from the beginning and Cait’s passion was the driving force behind ‘Resurrection’.”

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