‘This Is Not A Burial, It’s A Resurrection’, a haunting tribute to land,
community and ancestry, comes to the big screen next month  


‘This Is Not A Burial, It’s A Resurrection’, starring the late South African screen legend Mary Twala Mhlongo, opens in cinemas across South Africa on 21 May.  

It is the first film from Lesotho, made by a Mosotho filmmaker, to screen at an international festival. Directed by Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, the film was viewed by critics as one of the best at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, where it premiered in January. It was also Lesotho’s first-ever submission to the Oscars and the Golden Globes.  

The film has won a string of international awards and gained widespread acclaim around the world, particularly for its star Mary Twala. It won the Best Interpretation Award for Mary Twala Mhlongo at the Festival du Nouveau Cinema, Montreal, Canada; 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; as well as a host of other awards at major international festivals.  

The reviews have been excellent too, with, the culture and entertainment site from New York magazine, claiming in its headline, “The First Masterpiece of 2021 Is Here”.  

“The veteran actress passed away last July and now the anxious, unyielding melancholy of her character hits harder. That we as a planet have ourselves suffered through unimaginable loss adds a further, unexpected resonance. For so many, the question “Where would you like to die?” is no longer abstract or speculative, but rather one of plaintive urgency. This Is Not A Burial, It’s A Resurrection would be an exceptional film under any circumstances, but it has a special power at this particular moment.”

"The film continues to travel internationally, and has taken home 26 awards to date,” says Helen Kuun, MD of Indigenous Film Distribution. “We are delighted that it has attracted so much positive attention internationally.”  

“It’s been an amazing journey to have our film recognised internationally and on the continent,” says producer Cait Pansegrouw of lauded production company URUCU. We feel privileged that it is Ma’ Mary’s final feature performance and honoured that her legend will live eternally through her astounding performance in our film. We can’t wait to share it with audiences next month and ask everyone to support us in cinema, despite the pandemic. It’s too special and Mary’s performance is too masterful to miss it on the big screen.”  

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 that 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,” he says. “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’.”  

The film also stars film and television icon Jerry Mofokeng Wa Makhetha (‘Tsotsi’, ‘Fanie Fourie’s Lobola’, ‘Five Fingers for Marseilles’, ‘Four Corners, ‘Scandal’, ‘Soul City’, ‘Yizo Yizo’, ‘Isidingo’), Makhaola Ndebele (‘Machine Gun Preacher’, ‘Money Monster’, ‘Nomzamo’) and Tseko Monaheng (‘Naka la Moitheri’, ‘Five Fingers for Marseilles’).  


‘This Is Not A Burial, It’s A Resurrection’ is distributed in South Africa by Indigenous Film Distribution.  

 View Trailer:

THIS IS NOT A BURIAL, IT'S A RESURRECTION Official Trailer 2020 from Urucu Media on Vimeo.