South Africa has picked Knuckle City, a film directed by Jahmil X.T. Qubeka as its official entry in the Oscars’ International Feature Film category.
The film stars Bongile Mantsai, Sivuyile Ngesi, Patrick Ndlovu, Thembikile Komani and the late Nomhle Nkonyeni.
Knuckle City takes place in the Eastern Cape township of Mdantsane which is known as the boxing mecca of South Africa. It follows the journey of Dudu Nyakama (Bongile Mantsai), an ageing boxer as he seeks to attain the one fight he believes will help his broken family.
In the seedy underworld of boxing which is riddled with crime, Dudu enlists the help of his reckless but resourceful, gangster brother who’s coming out of jail. Dudu discovers that the issues at home far outweigh any opponent he had ever faced in the ring.
Talking to Variety, the director Jahmil X.T. Qubeka said when he was doing research for the film, he found that boxers, like the main character were often faced with problems at home.
“It seemed the day to day defeated these guys… And what is the source? What is the cause? And we found the topic around masculinity, and its being frustrated and not having a fundamental outlet, as a key source of this toxicity,” he said.