Directed by Oliver Schmitz
Oliver Schmitz
Film Movement Classics
104 Minutes
South Africa
English, Zulu, Afrikaans
Classics, Black Cinema, Crime, Drama
Not Rated
Theatrical booking
Erin Farrell
Festival and non-theatrical booking
Erin Farrell
Materials and print traffic
Erin Farrell


During demonstrations in apartheid-era South Africa, police arrest not only activists but also Panic, a “mapantsula” or petty gangster. While a cop tries to get him to make incriminating statements, we learn in flashbacks how Panic got caught up in the township riots. Panic is only interested in partying, alcohol, and his girlfriend Pat, and stays away from the protests against exorbitant rents. But then Pat, who loses her job as a house maid because of him, cuts Panic loose, and his landlady’s son is taken away by the police...During the state of emergency imposed in South Africa in 1985, Mapantsula could only be made after a “bowdlerised” screenplay was submitted to the authorities. Grassroots opposition had reached a climax when the film was released and then promptly banned. Within a matter-of-fact crime story, it examines racial discrimination and day-to-day acts of resistance to the regime.

The film has undergone a full 4K restoration of picture and sound, scanned from the original 35MM negative. Restoration produced by WHAT THE HERO WANTS, Oliver Schmitz & Aaryan K. Trivedi. The 4K scan has been conducted by R3STORE STUDIOS. Color Grading, Scratch, Dust, Speckle removal and stabilization has been handled by PURPLE DOG POST. Sound has been digitized from the original magstripe and converted into WAV files. The original analog audio stems have been remixed and remastered resulting in bringing the sound into a modern theatrical environment (5.1) while preserving the film's original sonic vision.

Hi Res Photos