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The indoctrination of Gerrit Wolfaardt is complete: his family traditions, history, culture- even his church-have taught him that black South Africans are a cancer in the land. Under the eye of prominent members of the government and military, Gerrit develops a diabolical plan to rid South Africa of its "black danger." Before his plans can be carried out, he meets two people who will put him on a collision course with his future: Celeste, an open-minded University student, and Peter Lekota, a pastor who challenges Gerrit's prejudice. His "final solution" meets its greatest obstacle when Gerrit realizes he is wrong. The Persecutor becomes the Peacemaker and begins to seek reconciliation between whites and blacks. However, in the turbulent last days of apartheid, there are those who doubt his transformation. One such person is Moses Moremi, whom Gerrit had once violently attacked. In the end, it is Moses who must choose between peace and bloodshed. Written by
When I tuned into this movie, expecting another rehash of the Holocaust, I was not prepared for what came next. The beginning of the film, masterfully depicted as an action sequence, was grippingly realistic as a faction of South Afrikaaners (c. 1993) move in to slaughter as many residents of a black township as they can. They are shockingly met by an equally fervent group of black urban guerrillas who, almost to a man, slaughter them. One survivor is brutally massacred in a pyre of gasoline. Another seeks sanctuary in a black church and this is where the story really begins.
The portrayal of two equally poisonous hatreds bursts from the screen and, slowly, we see bits and pieces of ourselves in their pitiable yet sadly understandable biases, deeply rooted in decades of oppression, resentment and bitterness. As different individuals vent on their personal histories and resulting convictions, the relentlessly ensuing tale of mindless rationalization, family history, and, perhaps, ultimate salvation, is as moving as anything I have ever witnessed on the screen; a metamorphosis as compelling as it is surprising.
I can't believe that there is someone out there who hasn't experienced at least some of the moral dichotomies and quandaries that this film so exquisitely portrays.
Sit back, ponder, and be amazed at this movie.
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