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This film follows a group of anonymous young people on an apparently random journey through a disjointed San Francisco cityscape. Along their travels they encounter a succession of madmen ... See full summary »
The original Broadway production of "Sarafina!" opened at the Cort Theater in New York on January 28, 1988, ran for 597 performances and was nominated for the 1988 Tony Awards for the Best Musical and Score. Dumisani Dlamini, Leleti Khumalo, Nhlanhla Ngema and 'Mbongeni Ngema' recreated their roles in the movie version. A nomination for the 1988 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical went to Leleti Khumalo. See more »
Come on, Nelson. Why can't I be a star? What does a star do? Nothing. Look at the camera, flash! Smile at the camera, flash! Look at everybody, big eyes! Say nothing. Stars don't do, stars just be.
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An apartheid musical, adapted from a minor Broadway hit from 1988, and ostensibly directed at families (with Whoopi Goldberg's casting a commercial hook). South African students, led by headstrong teenager Sarafina, protest and riot when their beloved teacher, Goldberg's politically-wise Mary Masombuka, is taken to prison over arguments implementing the West Germanic Afrikaans as the school's language. Would-be inspirational effort, a pet project for Whoopi, was shot on-location in Soweto and Johannesburg, and does a fairly interesting job mixing the harsh realities of this strife-ridden city with unabashed singing and dancing (mainly used as fantasy subtext). However, the political points are made early on in Mbongeni Ngema's and William Nicholson's screenplay, so there's really no place surprising the picture can go. The impetus of the material is to teach us something through the students' passionate fervor, but director Darrell Roodt can only work up a mild head of steam, while his film quickly falls back on that old stand-by: sermonizing. Goldberg, in sedate mode, smiles serenely at the kids, nodding quietly in agreement with their protestations (she has the patience of 100 saints). Her first involvement in an early number, a musical prayer set on the school grounds, is ridiculously clumsy. The teenagers, energetic to a fault, fare somewhat better. *1/2 from ****
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