Friday, April 19, 2013

In My Country

In My Country (2004) Poster
I previewed the Movie In My Country last night with Tom. I'll be showing it in class on Tuesday. I am now carrying the story around like guilt--like the pain of awareness.

It's well-done. It's powerful. It's based on the book (which I'm embarrassed that I haven't read yet, but it's top on my pile to read), Country of My Skull.

I'm happy about the movie selections we've watched in my Culture and History of South Africa class. The most powerful ones have blown us out of the water.

The three most powerful are:

Dry White Season
Cry Freedom
and now
In My Country

The first two show apartheid in all its reality. BOTH were released while apartheid was still the law. Cry Freedom is about Steve Biko.  
In My Country shows the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings and aftermath.
Juliette Binoche is spectacular (I have never seen her in anything that I didn't love. I think she's brilliant. First memory of her: Unbearable Lightness of Being), and Samuel L. Jackson is always powerful. Always.

If you haven't seen them, and you are the least bit interested, watch them.
Other movies we've watched, which are also powerful include
Both of these are also set in post-apartheid South Africa, the one concentrating on Nelson Mandela and his relationship with the South African rugby team The Springboks.
Tsotsi shows what poverty can do in the townships that endure as a legacy of apartheid. I should have put both of those in the most powerful category, too.

Still to watch are
Cry, the Beloved Country (James Earl Jones, Richard Harris...can't go wrong with that, unless we should have watched it earlier)
District 9 
(Did you know that it's based on District 6 in Cape Town?)
 Disgrace (Based on the book we're watching now, starring John Malkovich).

We're also acting out/conveying/telling South African Folk Tales, taken from the book Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folk Tales.

Our reading list included:
The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
Africans and Americans by Joseph Mbele
Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee

Other books I still need to read are
Country of My Skull (The Movie In My Country  is based on this book; I might substitute it for Disgrace  if I get to teach this class again)
Cry, My Beloved Country

And many, many more. But these are at the top of my list.

1 comment:

Mbele said...

Interestingly, this semester I am also teaching a South African literature course. We started with Alan Paton's "Cry the Beloved Country," and after two more texts, we read J.M. Coetzee's "Waiting for the Barbarians."

Let me say, again, that I really enjoyed visiting your class a few weeks ago, and I wish you all the best for your South Africa trip.