IN MY COUNTRY
The Truth Shall Set Us Free
Release Date: March 11, 2005
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 103 minutes
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Director: John Boorman
Writer: Ann Peacock
Address Comments To:Michael Barker, Tom Bernard and Marcie Bloom
Sony Pictures Classics
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New York, NY 10022
Phone: (212) 833-8833
Web Page: http://www.sonyclassics.com
IN MY COUNTRY is a fictionalized account of two writers covering the commission’s work. French actress Juliette Binoche plays one of the writers, Anna Malan, a white South African poet covering the commission for PBS in the United States. Samuel L. Jackson plays Langston Whitfield, a black reporter from the Washington Post.
At first, Anna and Langston clash, mostly because Langston is angry at all white people for creating South Africa’s national socialist policy of racial discrimination and oppression, known as apartheid. Langston slowly comes to admire Anna’s commitment to healing her country by bringing blacks and whites together in a spirit of reconciliation. Anna also begins to appreciate Langston’s righteous anger.
Regrettably, the two begin an adulterous affair. Eventually, however, Anna decides to come clean with her own husband and end the affair. Her personal decision echoes the biblical mantra of the commission: “The truth shall set us free.”
IN MY COUNTRY exposes the torture and murder that the apartheid leaders in South Africa inflicted on blacks, and there are scenes of reconciliation between victims and perpetrators. The movie only contains one example of blacks taking the lives of innocent whites and one example of blacks exacting violent revenge on an alleged collaborator. It cites no examples of the violent atrocities committed by the organization run by Nelson Mandela’s notorious radical wife, Winnie (which was also part of the commission’s work).
IN MY COUNTRY also has a mixed worldview. Although there are references to Christianity and biblical teachings, the commission’s work is placed in the context of a pantheistic reading of the Zulu word “Ubuntu,” which means “humanity toward others,” or “love thy neighbor as thyself.” This reading is not surprising, since the director of this movie, John Boorman, often has pagan religious content in his movies, and even gave a pantheistic reading to the Holy Grail in his otherwise brilliant version of the story of King Arthur, EXCALIBUR.
Thus, despite its positive Christian content, moviegoers should treat this movie’s mixed pagan messages, revisionist history, strong foul language, brief sexual elements, references to brutal racial violence with extreme caution. It is doubtful whether IN MY COUNTRY will gain as broad an audience as HOTEL RWANDA, which is another story about genocide and racism on the African continent.
IN MY COUNTRY exposes the torture and murder that the apartheid leaders in South Africa inflicted on blacks, and there are scenes of forgiveness and reconciliation. Despite its positive Christian content, however, the movie contains mixed messages, including revisionist history, pagan elements, strong foul language, and adultery. This content requires extreme caution. It is doubtful whether IN MY COUNTRY will gain as broad an audience as HOTEL RWANDA, another African story about genocide and racism.