In the mountains of Lesotho, an 80-year-old widow named Mantoa eagerly awaits her son’s return from working in the South African mines, only to learn of his demise instead. Yearning for her own death after the loss of her last remaining family member, she puts her affairs in order and makes arrangements to be buried in the local cemetery. Her careful plans are abruptly upset by the news that provincial officials intend to resettle the village, flood the entire area, and build a dam for a reservoir. Mantoa resolves herself to defend the spiritual heritage of the community.
Writer/director Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese crafts a vivid and ethereal meditation on life, death, and the power of the human spirit. Veteran actress Mary Twala Mhlongo commands the screen, beautifully portraying a woman fighting her last and most important battle. This Is Not A Burial, It’s A Resurrection creates an ode to a way of life perhaps soon to disappear in the name of progress and guides us through a world where the dead co-exist with the living.
2020 Sundance Winner: World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Visionary Filmmaking, 2019 Venice Film Festival, MUBI selection
“Lesotho-born director Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese shoots his film as a kind of living legend, with a mix of warm-hued tableaus and hillside portraits in defiance.” – The New York Times
“This is a severe, uncompromising film; it’s more like a series of images strung together, each framed exactingly, like a painting. At the centre of it all is Twala, often silent, her expression fixed in determination – no words needed.” – The Guardian
About the filmmaker
Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese is a self-taught filmmaker from Lesotho, based in Berlin. His film Mother won six awards at the Final Cut in Venice workshop and went on to premiere at the 2019 Berlin International Film Festival. He was one of three filmmakers selected for the Biennale College—Cinema lab, with his feature film This Is Not A Burial, It’s A Resurrection. Mosese is an alumnus of many programs, including Focus Features' Africa First and Cinéfondation's L’Atelier.