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A World Apart (1988)

PG | | Drama | 17 June 1988 (USA)
A White enclave in Johannesburg, South Africa, in the 1960s. Molly Roth, 13 years old, is the daughter of leftist parents, and she must piece together what's happening around her when her ... See full summary »

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Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 6 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Molly Roth
...
Gus Roth
...
Diana Roth
Nadine Chalmers ...
Yvonne Abelson
Maria Pilar ...
Spanish Dance Teacher
...
June Abelson
...
Harold
Phyllis Naidoo ...
Sareda
...
Elsie
Carolyn Clayton-Cragg ...
Miriam Roth
Yvonne Bryceland ...
Bertha
Mackay Tickey ...
Milius
Merav Gruer ...
Jude Roth
Albee Lesotho ...
Solomon
Clement Muchachi ...
Sipho
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Storyline

A White enclave in Johannesburg, South Africa, in the 1960s. Molly Roth, 13 years old, is the daughter of leftist parents, and she must piece together what's happening around her when her father disappears one night, barely evading arrest, and, not long after, her mother is detained by the authorities. Some of Molly's White friends turn against her, and her family's friendships with Blacks take on new meaning. Relationships are fragile in the world of apartheid. How will she manage? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

South Africa, 1963. A mother's love. A family's courage.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

17 June 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Um Mundo à Parte  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Gross:

$2,326,900 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of a mini-cycle of late 1980s anti-apartheid themed movies. The films are Cry Freedom (1987), A World Apart (1988) and A Dry White Season (1989), each released in subsequent years. The Power of One (1992) would follow early in the next decade of the 1990s. A majority of anti-apartheid films were filmed in Zimbabwe in response to the international economic sanctions against South Africa's Apartheid regime. During the apartheid regime, anti-apartheid films (including Western films depicting interracial relationships (the James Bond film Live And Let Die was heavily censored when released for the South African market) were banned by the South African government until the 1994 election of Nelson Mandela. See more »

Quotes

Diana Roth: [inside her cell, shouting and smashing objects] No books? No books?
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Soundtracks

Ayanzuikaza
(uncredited)
Traditional
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User Reviews

 
Apartheid Through A White Family's Eyes
14 March 2017 | by (Durham Region, Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

Apartheid was just beginning to face its end in 1988 as this movie was being made, but it was still a few years away from disappearing completely. This movie is set in the 1960's - a time when apartheid was still enforced ruthlessly, and "A World Apart" gives us the story of a white but anti-apartheid family struggling against the regime. The story is shown largely through the eyes of Molly Roth (played by Jodhi May) - a 13 year old girl. As the movie begins her father is leaving South Africa to avoid arrest as a communist. Meanwhile, her mother is an anti-apartheid journalist. Molly finds herself increasingly ostracized by many of her white friends and their families because of her family's political views, and her mother is arrested by the government under a law that allowed for people to be held for 90 days without being charged so that they could be interrogated. The movie certainly makes the point that apartheid and the white regime were inhumane and brutal. It also - to me - made the point that apartheid sowed the seeds of its own destruction. Because of its ruthlessness, rather than stamping out opposition by frightening its opponents, it enraged them and emboldened them and ensured that there would be an ever increasing number of recruits for the anti- apartheid movement, a point made (I thought) by Molly's raised fist in a gesture of defiance in one of the last scenes of the movie.

In this movie, the central family is the Roth family - Gus and Diana and their children, most importantly Molly. In fact, the movie is really based on the story of Ruth First, who was the wife of South African Communist leader Joe Slovo. First did, indeed, find herself arrested under the 90 days law and actually served almost 120 days before being released. She was assassinated in the early 1980's, and this movie serves as a tribute to her, and was actually written by Shawn Slovo, Joe and Ruth's daughter. I found myself wondering if the title might be referring to Molly's (or Shawn's) experience of being in a world of her own - not completely fitting in with the black world even though she was a supporter of their cause, and obviously not fitting in with the white world, most of whom regarded her and her family with a mix of contempt and suspicion.

As apartheid movies go, this was somewhat unique in trying to tell the story through white eyes. To me, though, it didn't really succeed. While the regime (shown through its police and security forces) was ominous and ever-present, the movie seemed to lack intensity and treated the subject a little bit lightly. It's interesting, but to me it seemed to miss the mark. (6/10)


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