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forbidden fruit

(short film)
35mm, beta sp, dvd, vhs (shot on digital video), 30min language: english/ shona

Die Geschichte der Liebe zweier Frauen, Nongoma und Tsitsi, die auf dem Land in Simbabwe leben. Weil eine lesbische Beziehung ein großes Tabu darstellt und ihre heimliche Affäre aufgedeckt wird, ist Nongoma gezwungen, aus dem Dorf in die Stadt zu fliehen. Tsitsis Familie ist überzeugt, dass sie von einem bösen Geist besessen ist.
Nach zwei Jahren begegnen sich die beiden Frauen zufällig in Mutare wieder...

forbidden fruit is a film about two female lovers, Nongoma and Tsitsi. who live in the country in Zimbabwe. Lesbian relationships are very much a taboo in Zimbabwe, and when their secret affair is discovered, Nongoma runs away from her village to the city. Meanwhile, Tsitsi’s family are convinced she is possessed by an evil spirit.
Two years later, the two women meet again by chance in mutare....


51. internationale filmfestspiele berlin 2001 teddy-jury-prize

15. international lesbian & gay film festival milano/ bologna - italia 2001 special jury mention

identities 2001 - queer film festival wien 2001 femmedia prize for best short film

„...graceful... the most gutsy film to be shown at the Berlinale.“ (

Bemerkenswerter Kurzfilm über eine Liebesgeschichte zweier Frauen in Simbabwe. Wunderschön erzählt von Sue Maluwa-Bruce.
Dieser Film wurde vom Teddy-Gremium 2001 lobend hervorgehoben, für seinen Mut, in einem Film Homosexualität in Simbabwe zu thematisieren, die dort verfolgt wird.
(Bremen's queer film festival)

Zimbabwean filmmaker, Sue Maluwa Bruce, breaks long held taboos about sexual identity and lesbian love in African society in her groundbreaking video, "Forbidden Fruit".
(Woman Make Movies New York)

„What is most remarkable about 'Forbidden Fruit' is its range of appeal.
It opens rural life and village politics in Zimbabwe to a new understanding, which is reconfigured by the love shared by the two women protagonists. To a society hostile to that love, the film responds neither with pleas for tolerance nor condemnation; instead, 'Forbidden Fruit' exploits passion in the service of transformation. The inventive reconstruction of that love story breaks the barriers of genre, too: this is a docu/dramatic and moving call to queer, global solidarity."
(Amy Villarejo, Cornell University USA)

.... und auch der Film "Forbidden Fruit" von Sue Maluwa-Bruce wird präsentiert - der erste Film aus Zimbabwe, der sich mit einem lesbischen Thema auseinandersetzt.
(Gay And Lesbian Filmfestival Lisboa)

….a wonderful short film from Zimbabwe called "Forbidden Fruit". Written by, and starring, Sue Maluwa-Bruce, this film won a Teddy Award at the Berlin International Film Festival recently. Told mostly as an oral story, with a few scenes acted out, and shot on location,
this wonderful 30 minute short film told of a single woman and her married neighbor who fell in love in a small village, as well as the consequences when they were discovered. Two years later, they are reunited by chance and decide to go to a town where they have no family to bother them. When one considers how few stories by and about lesbians come out of the African continent, it is very fascinating that this film ever got made and was even partially shot in Zimbabwe.
If you get a chance, do yourself a favor and check this film out.
(Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival 2001)

We are told in the brochure that the entire cast resigned for fear of homophobic repercussions, leaving Maluwa Bruce to call on her family and friends to act some of the roles while she narrates the tale and partially acts the roles of both women. The result is a film, which feels underground and fearful - one is really left with the sensation of the work being carried out under enormously adverse conditions. Using a narrator also gives it the very African feel of the oral tradition - a little piece of history, it may not
be the best film ever made but it certainly breaks ground in a Zimbabwean
context. (Daniel Somerville at the 2002 Out in Africa Gay and Lesbian Film Festival / Johannesburg)

There are so many shorts in the festival (Inside Out Film Festival/Canada), it's hard to single out just a few, but the award-winning Forbidden Fruit (****; Saturday, May 26, 2:15pm), an African story about the love between two women, deserves a special mention. (Catharine Tunnacliff / Toronto)

book/ director/ screenwriter: sue maluwa bruce
co- director/ camera/ screenwriter/ editor: beate kunath
co- director/ sound/ screenwriter/ still photographer: yvonne zückmantel

cast and credits_
sue maluwa bruce - storyteller
mai dope - mai gondai/ mary - gondayi/ mai mary - tete/ mai mutswa - takunda/ muroora - mbuya mukaka/
manu mafunga - householder/ mbuya rukudzo - tsitsi’s mother/ mbuya muchangana - healer/ sekuru muchangana - healer’s helper/ great zimbabwe dance group - traditional dancers/ cindy - the dog

- legends - music and text: leonel bastos, yvonne chaka chaka, johan ackerman, ian osrin
© polygram music publ. south africa pty. ltd./gallo music/tequila music mit freundlicher genehmigung von universal music publishing gmbh., edition intro meisel gmbh und enja records m. winkelmann gmbh/ edition mawi
- great zimbabwe traditonal dancers - live recording may 2000
- afri vocals - written by martine felton/ performed by martine felton and melanie schely, © martine felton

special thanks to_
yvonne, ralf, lutz, mario, ines at chemnitzer filmwerkstatt, difranco cafe/kneipe, muzvare nedope, ceals, craig, fraser, sophie, gerdie, manu

filmed on location in mutare (zimbabwe)

production_ chemnitzer filmwerkstatt, sue maluwa bruce, beate kunath

vorführungen/ sceenings_
2010_ 01. und 04. Juli 2010 ENTZAUBERT - radical queer d.i.y. Film Festival / Berlin 
am 01. Juli um 18:30 Uhr Wagenburg/ Schwarzer Kanal 
Filmvorführung von forbidden fruit 2007_ kuze/ potsdam, identities lesbisch schwules filmfestival wien/ österreich

2005_ femmes en résistance/ paris// berlin - nowpink galerie// mpenzi black women’s film festival toronto

2003_ Begehungen auf dem Sonnenberg/ Chemnitz// München/Germany// 7th Lisbon Gay and Lesbian Film Festival/Portugal// 25. Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinoaméricano Havana/Cuba

2002_ Brussels Gay & Lesbian Film Festival// Mardi Gras Film Festival Sydney/Australia// Out- In- Africa Film Festival 2002/South Africa// 24th Festival de Femmes Crétel/ France// Lesbenfilmtage Hannover/Germany// Connecticut Gay and Lesbian Film Festival/USA// « Afrika in Chemnitz –Frauen in Afrika »/Germany// Frauenkultur Leipzig/Germany// Dyke TV /New York /USA// Goethe- Institut Columbia// Feminale/Köln - Germany// Münster/Germany// Düsseldorf/Germany

2001_ 51. Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin, Germany// 9. International Lesbian Film Festival Bologna, Italy// 16th Turin International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival// Frauenkino Xenia/ Zürich// 11th Inside Out Lesbian & Gay Film/Video Festival of Toronto// 4. Schwul - Lesbisches Film Festival Münster// 15th Milano Bologna Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival// identities 2001 Wien Queer Film Festival// 13th New York Lesbian & Gay Film Festival// Oslo Gay and Lesbian Film Festival Norway// 25th San Francisco International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival// Philadelphia International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival// Lesbenfilmnächte Halle// 11. Freiburger Lesbenfilmtage// Outfest 2001 19th Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Film Festival// schwul/lesbische Filmtage Köln// 14th Annual G/L International Film Festival Austin/Texas// Africa in the Pictures, Amsterdam/
// 5th Festival de Cinema Gay & Lesbico de Lisboa// Berlin Lesben Film Festival//
12. Lesbisch/ Schwule Filmtage Hamburg// Milwaukee Lesbian and Gay Film/Video Festival 2001// Barcelona 7th International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival// Schwul- Lesbische Filmtage Bremen// 13th Paris Lesbian Film Festival// schwul/lesbisches Filmfestival Sachsen/Sachsen- Anhalt// Queersicht lesbisch- schwules Festival Bern/ Schweiz// rencontres - internationals de cinéma à Paris 2001// 21th Amiens International Film Festival, France// Gay and Lesbian Film Festival Paris

international distributor/ print source:

usa/ canada/ mexico/ south america distributor/ print source:
women make movies, inc.
462 broadway, suite 500, new york, ny 10013,

available as_
35mm/ beta sp/ dvd english/shona original version
35mm/ beta sp/ dvd german subtitled version
beta sp/ dvd italian subtitled version
beta sp/ dvd french subtitled version
beta sp/ dvd spanish subtitled version

© 2000 chemnitzer filmwerkstatt, sue maluwa bruce, beate kunath

b-k productions