35 user 51 critic

In My Country (2004)

Country of My Skull (original title)
R | | Drama, Romance | 7 May 2004 (Italy)
Langston Whitfield is a Washington Post journalist. His editor provocatively sends him to South Africa to cover the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings, in which the perpetrators ... See full summary »



(book), (screenplay)

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3 nominations. See more awards »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Anna Malan
Col. de Jager
Menzi Ngubane ...
Dumi Mkhalipi (as Menzi 'Ngubs' Ngubane)
Sam Ngakane ...
Aletta Bezuidenhout ...
Elsa Malan
Lionel Newton ...
Edward Morgan
Boetie Malan
Owen Sejake ...
Reverend Mzondo
Harriet Lenabe ...
Albertina Sobandla (as Harriet Manamela)
Louis van Niekerk ...
Willem Malan
Jeremiah Ndlovu ...
Old Man in Wheelbarrow
Fiona Ramsay ...
Felicia Rheinhardt
Dan Robbertse ...
Sgt. de Smidt (as Daniel Robbertse)
Van Deventer

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Langston Whitfield is a Washington Post journalist. His editor provocatively sends him to South Africa to cover the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings, in which the perpetrators of murder and torture on both sides during Apartheid are invited to come forward and confront their victims. By telling the unvarnished truth and expressing contrition, they may be granted amnesty. Can the deep wounds of Apartheid be healed through reconciliation? Langston is deeply skeptical. He tracks down Col. De Jager, the most notorious torturer in the SA Police and tries to penetrate the mind of a monster, an experience that obliges him to confront his own demons. Anna Malan is an Afrikaans poet who is covering the hearings for radio. As a white South African she is shattered by the accounts of the cruelty and depravity committed by her fellow countrymen. Anna and Langston must both question their sense of identity. Where do they each belong? How responsible are they for what is done in the ... Written by donal

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A South African Story of Truth, Love and Reconcilliation


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, including descriptions of atrocities, and for a scene of violence | See all certifications »



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Release Date:

7 May 2004 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

In My Country  »

Box Office


$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$22,383 (USA) (11 March 2005)


$163,536 (USA) (17 June 2005)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The exterior scenes and shots of the TRC hearings (for instance where Anna and Dumi first meet) were shot on the forecourt of the South African Museum in the Company Gardens in Cape Town's city centre. At least some of the internal scenes were shot in the Centre for the Book, which is down the road from the Museum and has curving corridors. The exterior of the court scene was shot outside the Centre for the Book. See more »


All number plates on vehicles throughout the film (apart from archival footage) are fake and do not follow the format of older South African number plates. See more »


[first lines]
Nelson Mandela: Never, never, and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another.
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Referenced in The South Bank Show: John Boorman (2005) See more »


Composed by Zukile Malahlana, Bongani Mafumana & Warrick Swinney
Performed by Marekta
Courtesy of Milestone Records
See more »

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User Reviews

Romantic Film Set In Turbulent Times
20 August 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I am not a big fan of romances, but in this case I gave it a try because of director John Boorman ["Excalibur," "The Emerald Forest," "Hope & Glory, "Deliverance"] and actors Samuel L. Jackson ["Coach Carter," "Star Wars: Episodes 2 & 3," "The Red Violin"] and Juliette Binoche ["Chocolat," "The English Patient," and the 1992 remake of "Wuthering Heights"].

This film was in the better half of Boorman's, while Jackson and Binoche gave top-notch performances. The supporting role of Dumi, played by Menzi Ngubane was excellent, as he acted both as foil and antagonist between the couple.

I think the weakest elements of this film are in screenwriter Ann Peacock's dialogue and in the construction of the Anna Malan and brother Boetie characters. The first for taking on just a little too much burden of responsibility, especially in one somewhat uncharacteristic scene at one of the hearings with a particularly gory testimony, and the latter for being incomplete when a key development occurs that should have played more into the storyline and into Anna's reactions.

From what I've heard about the book by Antje Krog, I can understand why anyone who had read it before seeing this movie might be disappointed, but it was certainly clear to me by the marketing that this was a romance and not a cinematic litany of the horrors of Apartheid.

Given the turbulent background of Apartheid and the South African Truth & Reconciliation Commission proceedings, along with other clues, I was also expecting this to be an adversaries-fall-in-love story, which is the type of romance that I like the most. The collective incidents which drive Anna and Langston together are neither contrived or turgid, and fall comfortably in between, especially because they are juxtaposed with events based in reality. There is one most significant turn at one of the hearings, which, given it is true, would bring any two adversaries together, in peace if not in love.

I don't want to give away anything about the extent of their romance, except to say that how it ended up was a pleasant surprise and quite satisfactory. I wish I could recommend two other good romances that end so similarly and satisfactorily, but I would give away the surprise.

This film is certainly worth a rental or two, worth showing to friends, but I suppose the disturbing nature of the background events might keep some people from buying it for their home library, but if you bought a copy of "American History X," I think you might want to buy this one.

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