Remastered Mapantsula by Oliver Schmitz official trailer and release date
Thomas Mogotlane in Mapantsula. (Credits: Film Movement)

Originally released 35 years ago back in 1988, Oscar Schmitz’s ‘Mapantsula’ was a landmark in South African cinema. Film Movement revealed the release date for a remastered version of the film, restored in 4K from the original 35mm negative and will release in conjuction with the film’s 35th anniversary.

The film stars Thomas Mogotlane, Marcel van Heerden, Thembi Mtshali-Jones, and Dolly Rathbe. It was screened at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival and was submitted as the Best Foreign Language entry of South Africa at the 62nd Academy Awards.

Release Date

Directed by Oscar Schmitz, the remastered version of ‘Mapantsula’ opens in theaters on July 26, 2024.


During demonstrations in apartheid-era South Africa, the police arrest Panic (Thomas Mogotlane), a “mapantsula” or petty gangster, while rounding up activists. His interrogation reveals the motivation for his involvement in the township riots. Once only concerned with partying, alcohol and his own interests, Panic finds himself being irreversibly pulled into the fray. Now, he is forced to choose between his personal freedom and taking a stand in the fight against the oppressive apartheid government.

In an interview with Okayafrica, director Oscar Schmitz says about the restoration, “The legacy of apartheid hasn’t healed and young people are experiencing the trauma indirectly through what their parents went through, so they get it. We are looking forward to reintroducing the film properly to South Africa.”


Michael Wilmington of Los Angeles Times praised Schmitz’s approach to the story in the original 1988 film’s review, writing “The movie suggests something socially conscious pictures often sidestep: that the victims of repression can lead vibrant lives despite it. And it brings out something else that American thrillers mostly avoid, the way good and bad can be promiscuously mixed up in one character.”

Janet Maslin in a New York Times review praised the lead actor’s performance, writing “Mr. Mogotlane makes Panic much more than a symbol, treating him as a raffish, amusingly overconfident figure at first and a visibly shaken man as the film progresses”

Official Trailer

Watch the official trailer for ‘Mapantsula’.

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