Director Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese has secured Lesotho's first ever submission to the Oscars with 'This is Not a Burial, It's a Resurrection' in the category of 'Best International Feature Film'.
Lesotho has officially entered the Oscar race for the first time ever. This is Not a Burial, It's a Resurrection was written and directed by Lesotho-born, Berlin-based Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese and has been submitted to and selected by the Oscars committee for "Best International Feature Film" at the 2021 edition of the awards ceremony. Released in June of this year, the film became an instant hit and has been headlining international film festivals ever since. This is a great feat for the Kingdom of Lesotho where the film was shot on location. Cinephiles from Lesotho, South Africa and across the world have all joined in to congratulate Mosese.
In an interview with Variety, Mosese described the selection as both a celebration and a somber moment for Lesotho.
"It's a tragedy that my film is the first film from my country to reach this milestone and hopefully enter the Oscar race. I don't find beauty in 'Resurrection' being the first Basotho film to do this. It's overdue. On the other hand, this achievement is so beautiful. There are so many people, programmers and other industry players reaching out to me for more content coming from Lesotho. I am at peace that my film can serve as an usher to what we have been doing on the ground."
This is Not a Burial, It's a Resurrection captures the tensions of forced removals that currently exist in the global South. The late Mary Twala plays the elderly protagonist, Mantoa. Eighty-year-old Mantoa has to fight authorities for the piece of land where her deceased family's remains are buried. The film has been described as a visual spectacle which boasts seamless storytelling. Twala displays tremendous strength as she fights forced removals by Lesotho authorities who have plans of building a damn instead. The film begins with great expectations of the return of her sons from the gold mines. However, only his suitcases arrive. Mosese moves audiences from grief to defiance through Twala's formidable character. South African veteran actor Jerry Mofokeng, who has also featured in the internationally acclaimed film, Five Fingers for Marseilles, narrates the film.
Mosese has said that he hopes that the Oscar selection will serve as an inspiration to others. The filmmaker currently spends his time between Lesotho, Johannesburg and Berlin. His first feature, the documentary essay, Mother, I Am Suffocating. This Is My Last Film About You, premiered last year in the Berlinale's Forum section.
Watch the trailer for the film below:
This Is Not a Burial, It's a Resurrection – trailer | IFFR 2020 www.youtube.com
*A previous version of this article stated that 'This is Not a Burial, It's A Resurrection' was nominated for an Oscar. This was incorrect and has been updated in this version of the story.