On Tuesday, IFC films released their newest trailer for “Moffie,” a queer drama set in 1980’s South Africa. The film was recently nominated for Outstanding Debut By A British Writer, Director or Producer and could be South Africa’s bid for Best Foreign Film at the 2022 Academy Awards.
The film’s cultural relevance couldn’t be more potent. Written and directed by Oliver Hermanus, “Moffie” follows a closeted boy’s experiences in the South African military during the Apartheid era of the 1980’s. “Moffie” refers to a derogatory slur part of the Afrikaan vernacular, and the film explores the psychological turmoil of being homosexual in a homophobic and hyper-masculine institution like the military.
“Moffie” has already been widely recognized by both foreign and domestic film critics. The film currently holds the rare 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave the film 4 out of 5 stars in his review, stating, “(Hermanus)…has directed a fiercely engaged, complex drama of sexual identity and suppressed yearning in apartheid-era South Africa – a film with a humid intensity”.
Originally premiering at the 2019 Venice Film Festival, “Moffie” is set for a U.S. theatrical release on April 9. Normally, an independent, foreign film like “Moffie” underperforms at an American box office dominated by studio films and Hollywood blockbusters. However, given the limited releases theatrical of pandemic-era cinema, “Moffie” may undergo a “Call Me By Your Name” level cultural explosion. It’s primarily English dialogue makes it more accessible than other foreign films, and the intersectional themes presented in the film align with the progressive attitudes of today’s youth.