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Mapantsula – The 1988 anti-apartheid film has had a new 4K restoration

What The Hero Wants (WTHW) has announced that the Cult Classic and first anti-apartheid film about the black experience in South Africa, Mapantsula (1988) has been restored in 4K resolution.

The film will have its world premier on the world stage of cinema, this February, at the prestigious Berlin International Film Festival (BERLINALE); Celebrating the film’s 35th anniversary and Black History Month.

Mapantsula follows the story of Panic, a petty gangster who becomes caught up in the growing anti-apartheid struggle and has to choose between individual gain and a united stand against the system.

The film originally debuted in the Official Selection at the Cannes Film Festival to massive critical acclaim and garnered international praise for its artistic value and its efforts in raising awareness of the South African struggle.

Mapantsula made a massive impact on political cinema, pop culture and bringing African cinema to the forefront of industry conversations.

The award-winning director of the film Oliver Schmitz and leading actress Thembi Mtshali-Jones spoke about the film’s restoration.

 Oliver Schmitz said “It is an honour to have the restoration of Mapantsula premiere in the Berlin film festival in the Berlinale Classics section. The film’s relevance today, is as strong as 35 years ago and I think that is why even young generations, especially in South Africa, love the film. I am proud we achieved making a film that back then, was thought impossible to make. I and my co-writer Thomas Mogotlane wrote a fake script to avoid harassment from the police and to evade the authorities. I wish he and many others involved who have since passed, were around to see their work presented once again in this fantastic restoration which will bring the film alive to cinema audiences in 4K with enhanced sound for the wonderful soundtrack. This restoration is a tribute to all who participated in this venture which was dangerous at the time and to the countless others who fought the oppressive system.”

Thembi Mtshali-Jones added “What a time to be living in the digital era! The migration of Mapantsula to digital platforms is a milestone. It’s a leap forward on how far we’ve come when I think of my earlier days as an actress. Mapantsula was my first experience of the film and cinema world. The natural evolution to digitize earlier movies will enable young audiences to see how far we have come in telling powerful stories.”

“Mapantsula 2023 4K Restoration” has Been Produced by London Based, What The Hero Wants (WTHW) by Schmitz and Aaryan Trivedi. They feel that MAPANTSULA as a modern classic has rightfully earned its position amongst the great foreign language films of the last century – this view has been affirmed by various prestigious polls.

As well as its critical acclaim and social significance in cinema today – It is a privilege to re-introduce it to audiences, especially those who have demanded its wider release from the start. The restoration process: The Original 35mm Neg Was Used By R3store Studios In London For The 4K Scan.

The Colour Correction, Picture And Sound Processing Were ConductedAt Purple Dog Post In Canada. Original Analogue Audio Tracks Were Enhanced And Re-mastered to do justice to the vibrant soundtrack in a theatrical environment. Final approvals and adjustments were made at Studio Mitte.

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  1. Wow wow wow!!!!! Can’t wait to see it

    • This is great news indeed. Mapantsula is one of the greatest films from South Africa and it will be quite amazing to experience it in 4k resolution.

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