Based on a true story, this "haunting, deeply moving film" (Los Angeles Times) earned the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. With a "strikingly forceful performance" (New York) by Barbara Hershey, this potent ac... more »count of personal and political turmoil brims with "emotion andradiant intelligence" (The New Yorker)!South Africa, 1963. Communist Gus Roth (Jeroen Krabbe) is forced to flee Johannesburg to escape arrest, leaving his activist wife Diana (Hershey) to continue their crusade against apartheid. But when Diana is wrenched from her three daughters and jailed under the notorious 90-day Detention Act, she and her family face the ultimate sacrifice in thefight for freedom.« less
"The most powerful movie about the monstruosity and the unhuman injustices of this white and racist regime in South Africa, called Apartheid. The action takes place in the 60's and the heroes are a couple of journalists risking their lives to fight it, writing burning articles. The husband is forced to leave the country and her wife, Diana Roth (wonderful Barbara Hershey) is arrested and convicted, with no trial or judgment.The character spends most of the movie's running time between four walls or questioned by evil Akrikaner brutes. The fact that she's a white woman leads her only to psychological torture, not physical. She's finally definitely released after she tried to kill herself, refusing to give the names of the people she 'collaborated' with for her work. During her detention her young daughter Molly (played by Jodhi May), put away from the cause by her mother, discovers for over 90 days all the injustices and horrors all by herself (mother arrested and put into prison, black friend murdered, and her white friends turning away from her, accusing her for treason, including her best one, Yvonne) and tries to do something about it. The awakening is very brutal (in the beginning of the film, she sees a black man getting hit by a car and nobody to help him), and the drama is deep.The force of this film, which was prized four times in Cannes Film Festival in 1988 (Special Jury Prize, Triple Best Actress Prize for Hershey, Johdi May and Linda Mvusi) is mostly in Hershey's performance. She carries all the film on her shoulders. The script, written by the journalist Shawn Slovo from her true story (based upon her childhood in South Africa and her relationship with her parents), is great, so is the direction of Chris Menges, here in his first 'fiction' film (after winning Oscars as director of photography, for Roland Joffé's films "The Killing Fields" and "The Mission"). The music, composed by Hans Zimmer ("Rain Man"), is the ideal one, moving and dramatic in the same time. This is another necessary film with no DVD release - so far -, good and powerful enough to be showed in all schools, and made to show how the most elementary rights of man can be shamefully and regularly wasted, and how those who try to respect these rights (white people included) are unceasingly hunted and, in most cases, finally get killed. We don't see films like this any more these days..."
Sacrifices For Justice
James L. | 07/07/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Barbara Hershey stars in this true life story of a white South African journalist who sacrifices her self and her family to try to bring an end to the injustices of Apartheid in 1960's South Africa. With her husband having fled the country, Hershey finds herself arrested under the Ninety Day Detention Act, leaving her 3 daughters in the care of her mother. It has a particularly hard effect on her sensitive oldest daughter, played by Jodhi May, who realizes more of what is going on to her family and country, and who also finds her self ostracized because of her parents' politics. The effect of South Africa's racial injustice is also seen on the family's maid, Linda Mvusi. The film gives viewers a solid look at the experience of Apartheid in 1960's South Africa, by showing the differences in the lifestyles of blacks and whites, and in the attitudes of the white characters towards blacks. It also raises the question of whether the Hershey character sacrificed her family too much in her pursuit of justice. Hershey is very good as the tough, crusading journalist, and May is excellent as her frustrated, confused, and awkward daughter. The cinematography and score are terrific, although the sound can be a problem in certain scenes where dialogue is difficult to hear. The violence is kept to a minimum so that this could be a great introduction for children into the history of South Africa. It's a small film well worth watching."
James L. | 08/09/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This true story reveals the world of apartheid South Africa through the eyes of the daughter of prominent anti-apartheid activists. The film's power lies in its understatement and attention to period detail. If you want to get an authentic look at what South Africa was like in that period, on both sides of the fence, this is the film to watch. It's a touching family story, too."
One-Line Film Reviews | Easton, MD | 06/11/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Bottom Line:
A World Apart focuses on apartheid by looking at a very narrow, child's eye view of the topic; though this precludes the film from being a definitive or comprehensive look at South Africa's most heinous chapter, it doesn't change the fact that this is an engrossing and successful motion picture that manages to be quietly powerful and moving without being manipulative.
Are you a Jerome Karbe Fan?
The Oil Painter | usa | 03/05/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this to see Jerome, and guess what, he is in it for 5 minutes. Sorry I bought it."