This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection (2019)

Ecological and spiritual concerns are braided in Lesotho-born filmmaker Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese’s startling Sundance prizewinner.

A haunted, unsentimental paean to land and its physical containment of community and ancestry – all endangered by nominally progressive infrastructure – this arresting third feature from Lesotho-born writer-director Mosese is as classical in theme as it is adventurous in presentation. Toggling between earthy naturalism and suspended dream atmospherics as fluently as its life-weary 80-year-old protagonist (the superb Mary Twala Mhlongo) skims the real and spiritual realms, it’s the kind of myth-rooted, avant-garde Southern African storytelling that rarely cracks the international festival circuit.

Guy Lodge, Variety

The cinematography is breathtaking. Even though it would have been really difficult to shoot in the conditions that prevail in Mosotho, cinematographer Pierre de Villiers manages to get almost every frame right. There are long, static shots of Mantoa looking out of the window trying to understand the bewildering sense of existence she is suddenly forced into. In a completely grief-stricken first act, we see her taking out batteries from her radio and putting them in the sunlight.

Shikhar Verma, High on Films

  • Language: Sesotho
  • Subtitles: English
  • Distribution: Memento Films International
  • Cinematography: Pierre de Villiers
  • Editing: Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese
  • Music: Yu Miyashita
  • Sound: Daniel Caleb, James Matthes
  • Production design: Leila Walter