Lemohang Mosese’s film This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection, the first feature film shot entirely in his native Lesotho, was chosen as the Firebird Award winner of in the 44th Hong Kong International Film Festival’s Firebird Young Cinema Competitions.

The late Mary Twala Mhlongo who plays the fearless widow in the film, was also named Best Actress

The legendary Mary Twala Mhlongo plays an 80-year-old woman determined to be buried with her dead family in her home village. The jury had raving comments about her stellar performance in the film about her still face which hid so many emotions. “Her acting was natural, yet so compelling, she owns this film. Not many 80-year-old women would strip to face an antagonist when she is forced to leave her village.”

This year’s FIPRESCI Prize went to MOSESE’s This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection.  The film received a commendation from the jury for “its highly original combination of approaches…that invokes ancient storytelling traditions for its modern tale of grief channeled into social action”.  

Set in a Lesotho village threatened by a dam project, the film uses a highly original combination of approaches: It’s about beautiful landscapes but also intensely-realized rooms; it’s awash with stylized colors but also documentary-like authenticity; and it invokes ancient storytelling traditions for its modern tale of grief channeled into social action. All of which relies on the intimate power of lead actress Mary Twala Mhlongo’s unforgettable face.

A compelling mix of myth, magic, and realism. It resonates with raw emotion. A story-teller musician poet talks of an elderly woman’s wish to be buried in her village. The elderly woman’s private world is impressionistic, stylized. Hers is a universal story of an African village caught between its history, tradition and the encroachment of the 21st century.

The film was announced as the opening film at the 2020 Durban International Film Festival, where it is also in competition. 

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