When you experience some from of pain, especially from someone you love, forgiving them isn’t always easy. It is easier said than done, as you can’t forget the pain you endured and the wound that has been cut so deep doesn’t heal quickly. This is something that the brilliant Zwelethu Radebe focuses on his short film The Hangman.
In The Hangman, Kheta is a prison warden who must choose between forgiving his father or live in regret of failing to accept the truth on the eve of his father’s execution. But when his mother tells him a dark secret, a secret that she has been harbouring for years, it makes Kheta’s decision harder to make.
This film is set in 1989 and the set design is absolutely fantastic. You truly are taken back in time with the design of the prison where Khetha works, the clothing that Kheta’s mother wears and the design of the house where Kheta and his mother live. It is visually appealing and it does make the film more powerful, genuine, and real.
Khulu Skenjana is brilliant as Mfundisi Mdlethse. Even though he is a prisoner, he is the type of prisoner that you don’t see in the majority of films that are set in prisons. He is quiet, keeps to himself and rarely challenges the prison guards, especially when they treat him unfairly for no reason at all. It is hard not to emphasize with him, you see the pain and sorrow in his eyes, especially when his angry son confronts him with questions.
Thato Dhladla plays Kheta Mdlethse and he is incredible in his role. There are moments in the scene when you witness him changing from a man to a little boy. Although he is quite angry, you notice that the anger is just from the hurt he endured from his past and he is the same little boy who feels abandoned by his father. You see him start to let his father in but then he becomes a man again, refusing to feel an inch of compassion for his father. Their scenes together are incredibly electrifying.
Zwelethu has certainly created something special with The Hangman; he shows you that not everything is what it seems and that there are two sides of every story. The Hangman is an absolute pleasure to watch and we hope it gets nominated for an Oscar.