Thursday, December 9, 2004


Drama,true story

In 1948 the all white National Party won the South Africa elections. They immediately began implementing stricter racial segregation policies, called "Apartheid". In some ways Apartheid (an Afrikaans word that means separation) was an extension of the segregationist laws implemented by previous white minority governments. It was to last for 42 years until dismantled in 1990.
The most Draconian measures were to strip black South Africans of having any vote and not allowing them to run for public office. Consequently, they had absolutely no say in their government. The so-called Pass Laws were the most direct way in which the blacks were suppressed. If your passbook was out of order you could be arrested, detained, or imprisoned. The Pass Laws also restricted black Africans to living in the townships (shantytowns often just outside main industrial areas) unless they had paid all their taxes and could prove that they had a job in the city.
During a reorganisation of the Education Department in 1976, the government decided that secondary education would be conducted only in Afrikaans, rather than in English or any of the native African languages. This was bitterly resented by both teachers and students.

The Soweto Township is one of the largest in South Africa, located just outside of Johannesburg, the richest and most important city in the country. A protest march was organised on June 16, 1976 and over 20,000 students participated. The regular day-to-day tension between blacks and the police force of the apartheid regime was coupled now with the anger directed at the recent changes to the education act. Conflict began almost immediately as police shot off rounds of tear-gas and then fired their guns into the crowds. The police showed no mercy as they attacked students of all ages, whether armed or unarmed. These were the most brutal and violent riots that had ever taken place against the South African apartheid administration. Realising the scale of these riots, the government reacted in the way any government would: with the full use of organised violence. The police actions during and following the riots would be part of what instigated a worldwide boycott of South African produce and resulted in the increased militancy of the black population of South Africa. The Soweto riots signalled the beginning of the end for the racist, colonial state of South Africa.

Thomas Jane: André Stander, Captain in the South African Police Service
Deborah Unger: his wife Bekkie
Marius Weyers: André’s father General Stander
David O’Hara: Allan Hey, one of André’s accomplices
Dexter Fletcher: Lee McCall, the third member of the Stander Gang

This is the true story of one man’s reaction to the troubles in his country. The acting throughout is excellent and the story moves along at a good clip. There are some funny moments along with the fast paced action scenes.

for violence, language, some sexuality and nudity (which really seems out of place)

During a question and answer period at the Sundance Festival, the director was asked, “Was all this exactly like it happened?” Her reply says it all: "the outrageous stuff was true, but we had to add normal plot fillers to help the story dramatically."

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