IN MY COUNTRY Add To My Top 10

The Truth Shall Set Us Free

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Release Date: March 11, 2005

Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Juliette Binoche, Menzi “Ngubs” Ngubane, and Brendan Gleeson

Genre: Drama

Audience: Older teenagers and adults

Rating: R

Runtime: 103 minutes

Address Comments To:

Michael Barker, Tom Bernard and Marcie Bloom
Co-Presidents
Sony Pictures Classics
550 Madison Avenue, 8th Floor
New York, NY 10022
Phone: (212) 833-8833
Web Page: http://www.sonyclassics.com
Email: [email protected]

Content:

(PaPa, FR, CC, BB, RH, PC, LL, VV, SS, NN, AA, D, M) Mixed pagan worldview with hints of pagan pantheism, references to an African concept of justice that may be misinterpreted and strong Christian content stressing forgiveness, reconciliation and “the truth shall set you free,” with Christian priest leading reconciliation panels on past atrocities in South Africa, plus strong moral content regarding justice and the negative effects of virulent racism, some apparent revisionist history, and African American makes politically correct leftist statements; 27 mostly strong obscenities, five strong profanities and two light exclamatory profanities; strong violent content includes man assassinated, instruments of torture displayed, talk of rape and torture, talk of atrocities, man shot in leg, implied suicide, and bones of skeleton shown; briefly depicted adultery and talk of past adultery; brief upper female nudity and nude couple lies under bed covers; alcohol use and drunkenness; smoking; and, men try to steal cattle and virulent racism exposed and rebuked.

Summary:

IN MY COUNTRY is a fictionalized account of two writers covering the work of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which tried to heal wounds between blacks and whites caused by the national socialist doctrine of apartheid. Despite positive moral and Christian content, the movie contains mixed messages, including revisionist history, pagan elements, strong foul language, adultery, and strong references to murder and torture.

Review:

About 10 years ago, South Africa embarked on a unique social experiment. Instead of prosecuting all government officials and vigilantes who may have committed atrocities against black people and mixed racial groups during apartheid, the country established a commission offering amnesty, reconciliation and restitution between all races, so long as they confessed the truth of what they had done. The jury’s still out on how successful the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s work really was, but many unknown atrocities were brought to light and a bloodbath of revenge was avoided.

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 Brief:

IN MY COUNTRY is a fictionalized account of two writers covering the work of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which tried to heal wounds between blacks and whites caused by the national socialist doctrine of apartheid. 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, but they become adulterous lovers as their mutual respect grows. Eventually, Anna decides to come clean with her husband and end the affair. Her personal decision echoes the biblical mantra of the commission that “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 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.