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South African church minister Steven Kumalo is summoned from his village to Johannesburg. There he finds that his son Absolom has been jailed in connection with a robbery in which a white man was killed. The father of the white man, James Jarvis, is a supporter of apartheid, the separation of the races which is the law of South Africa. When they encounter each other, both Kumalo and Jarvis come to unexpected realizations not only about their sons, but about the nature of their own humanity. Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
It's been a long time since I read the Alan Paton book upon which this film is based. Paton was banned in his own country and officially silenced but the book was universally popular throughout the 1960s.
James Earl Jones once again renders a bravura performance as the African minister whose son has accidentally killed a white man. One can feel his grief and his burden as he tries to straighten the mess out. His son has confessed but others involved have denied knowledge of the offense.
Richard Harris plays an equally difficult role that of Mr Jarvis the white boy's father. One feels his grief and pain especially when he finds to his surprise that his son had disowned "baaskap," the over-lordship of the white race, something accepted as a given by most whites without a second thought just as the white housewife perfunctorily dismissed the black cleric in priestly garb as if he were a pesty door to door salesman.
Will mercy be extended to the preacher's son who accidentally pulled the trigger and cooperated with authorities or will he suffer the ultimate penalty while accomplices go free? Yet for all the misery the movie, surprisingly without excessive preaching, ends on a flicker of hope for the future.
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