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Proteus (2003)

 -  Drama | Romance  -  7 June 2004 (USA)
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 513 users   Metascore: 47/100
Reviews: 14 user | 16 critic | 11 from Metacritic.com

An interracial gay love story set in early 18th century South Africa about two men -- a black prisoner living in a Cape Town penal colony and a Dutch sailor -- who weather injustices as a result of their affair.

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, (uncredited)

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(script), (script), 1 more credit »
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Title: Proteus (2003)

Proteus (2003) on IMDb 6.7/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Rouxnet Brown ...
Claas Blank
...
Virgil Niven
...
Rijkhaart Jacobz
...
Kate
...
Elize
Terry Norton ...
Betsy
Adrienne Pierce ...
Tinnie (as Adrienne Pearce)
...
Willer
Brett Goldin ...
Lourens
A.J. van der Merwe ...
Settler
...
Governor
Jeroen Kranenburg ...
Scholz
Andre Samuels ...
!Nanseb
Johan Jacobs ...
Nama Prisoner
Katrina Kaffer ...
Kaness
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Storyline

A recreation of the decade-long love affair in the 18th century in a Cape Town penal colony on Robben Island. The two lovers were a Dutch sailor imprisoned there for sodomy and a young Khoi herder. The Khoi were part of the Hottentot tribal group and as such were the untouchables of that time. The two were placed on trial and this love affair and the legal battles are the grist of Greyson and Lewis' film based partly on court transcripts from the time. In South Africa, during the 1700s, sodomy was a crime deemed worse than murder, and the fact that these two young men had indulged in it was also complicated by the fact that this was an interracial love affair. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

love | colony | dutch | sailor | sodomy | See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

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Details

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|

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

7 June 2004 (USA)  »

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 »
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Did You Know?

Crazy Credits

Beneath the opening title, the phrase 'Based on a true story' appears in Africaans, then in Dutch, and then English. See more »

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User Reviews

Missed it by that much
21 November 2004 | by (Dallas, TX) – See all my reviews

At the heart of Proteus is a great story - actually two great stories - about the oppression of homosexuality during the 18th century. The main "love" story between Claas and the sailor has the makings of a very dramatic story if told well.

Where the movie went wrong, IMO, was mixing costuming, sets and props from different eras. I "get" what the director was trying to do - show us that these problems exist today as much as they did 300 years ago. But the visual jarring of seeing the modern next to the historical kept knocking me out of the plot. Halfway through the movie, I was wondering if this really was a directorial choice or simply a way to reduce costs by using readily available stuff rather than recreating the time period.

The secondary story about Virgil never takes off. We are supposed to juxtapose his life with Claas' and see how Claas becomes more accepting of his homosexuality, or at least "love" for another man, while Virgil becomes more closeted as the oppression begins. I never could figure out if Lorenz was Virgil's lover or just a gay friend.

In many ways, this movie would have been better served as a straightforward historical drama than attempting to take on multiple plots and risktaking direction.


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