Umkhungo (The Gift) is really, really good. It’s a self-contained story about Themba, a young boy whose powers have branded him cursed. When his parents die, he ends up with a street thug named Mthunzi. The two eventually come to an understanding, just as Themba’s uncles and the authorities close in.

Umkhungo started as one of five scripts Focus Features funded with the now-defunct Africa First program. It’s a slow burn, to be sure, but filmmaker Matthew Jankes filmed in slum of Johannesburg Umkhungo is set in and used his surely small budget to great effect. While a perfectly contained story, there’s room to imagine the future for Themba at the end of the film.

[via Short of the Week]


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