Sex scenes and drama in Zimbabwe-UK feature film

A new feature film is set to make history in Zimbabwe as the first ever local screenplay to show raunchy, sex scenes. The movie premieres on October 4, 2016 in Harare.

The full length feature film titled ‘Escape’ was written by multi-award winning UK film maker Agnieszka Piotrowska who co-directed the movie with Zimbabwean director Joe Njagu.

The teaser released this week exhibits brilliant camera work and a pulsating threesome scene which is very likely to unsettle the local audience. In Zimbabwean history no one has ever gone this far in local mainstream offerings as a result of a conservative society made up of Christians and traditionalists who deem even the talk of sex, let alone the screening of the act as taboo. Now imagine what the reaction to a threesome on screen will be? In addition to the video, the producers have since released highly steamy images with one showing singer-cum-actress, Selmor Mtukudzi deeply kissing the lead actor.

‘Escape’ is a film about a mixed race man Charles (played by Jose Marques) who discovers from his white mother (played by Maria Wilson) that his father is Zimbabwean and is dying. Charles decides to travel to Harare to find his father. He is a stranger in town and is enveloped by mysterious situations.

Whilst in Harare he becomes torn between two women.

Tsitsi (played by Nothando Nobengula)  is the damaged and wicked wife to a hotel owner; she desires her husband dead by Charles’ hand. The other woman is Anna (played by Selmor Mtukudzi). Anna is modern and offers an alternative life to Charles.

Throughout the film, Charles is tormented by his returning dreams and repressed memories.

We caught up with the co-producer Joe Njagu who is famed for producing ‘Lobola’ and ‘The Gentleman’. Njagu commented, “This will be the first Zimbabwean film that carries explicit sex scenes which will be a huge surprise and a taboo. We hope to demystify that notion in local productions considering how we consume western productions with sex scenes. Imagine here it seems unthinkable when people kiss in a local production.”

The film is likely to invite the wrath of the government which has tight censorship laws dealing with either political or moral issues. It is yet to be seen if the censorship board will even allow the film to show in its original form.

In the past, a few local films and documentaries were banned or edited at the request of the state. For example, the backlash towards films such as ‘Flame’ and the Constitution documentary are testament to the extreme censorship.

Despite attracting 11,000 views in 48 hours on Facebook, fans were divided in reaction with one blogger Praise Tapiwa Magama remarking, “It’s a new dimension to Zimbabwean film making, I can’t wait to write a review on it. The sex scene really gives the audience what to look forward to in this piece of artwork. Best wishes guys.” On the contrary, Lecs Munyoro responded, “Sex scenes….ooh shame…count me out.”

The film is a joint production by Thinking Films in association with Media Matrix and was shot on location in Zimbabwe and in England under the directorship of Agnieszka Piotrowska and co-producers Joe Njagu, Eric Witzgall, Brendon Sole, Carolyn Sole and Stewart Cornes.

Joe Njagu shot the movie with Farai Chimombe as the gaffer, Joshua Changa and Alice Knuth were part of  the production design department.

The screen roles are played by a brilliant and well-selected cast of Munya Chidzonga who has just secured a role at one of South Africa’s most watched soapies Rhythm City, Eddie Sandifolo, Daniel Tapera, Charmaine Mujeri, songbird and daughter to music legend Selmor Mtukudzi, seasoned actress Nothando Nobengula, Charles Mzemba, Stewart Sakarombe, former urban grooves artistes manager Joe Machingura , Farai Chigudu, Cynthia Njagu and NAMA award-winning Eunice Tava.

The movie world premiere will be hosted by the Zimbabwe International Film Festival Trust ZIFFT in Harare on October 4 at Ster Kinekor Sam levy. Thereafter, a DVD release and a global festival tour will take place. – ZimboJam

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