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Disgrace (2008)

R  |   |  Drama  |  18 June 2009 (Australia)
6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 4,294 users   Metascore: 71/100
Reviews: 36 user | 82 critic | 18 from Metacritic.com

After having an affair with a student, a Cape Town professor moves to the Eastern Cape, where he gets caught up in a mess of post-apartheid politics.

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(novel), (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Jessica Haines ...
...
Fiona Press ...
Bev Shaw
Antoinette Engel ...
...
Soraya
Antonio Fisher ...
Sidney - Student
Isabella De Villiers ...
Mrs. Cundell - Student
Cindy Mkaza ...
Mrs. Mbeti - Student
Liezel De Kock ...
Student Director
Charles Tertiens ...
David Denis ...
Mr. Isaacs
Paula Arundell ...
Dr Farodia Rassool
Anne Looby ...
Rosalind
David Ritchie ...
Manas Mathbane
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Storyline

Cape Town professor David Lurie blatantly refuses to defend himself for an affair with a colored student whom he gave a passing grade for an exam she didn't even attend. Dismissed, he moves to his daughter Lucy's farm, which she runs under most disadvantaged terms, favoring the black locals. Yet rowdies, unprovoked, violently rob and abuse them both. Lucy refuses to fight back, unlike David, who is surprised by his own altruistic potential. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

What is a mad heart? See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content, nudity, some violence and brief language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

18 June 2009 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Desgracia  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$12,615 (USA) (18 September 2009)

Gross:

$66,643 (USA) (2 October 2009)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

'Disgrace' won the Best Narrative Film (The Black Pearl) Award at the Middle East Film Festival 2008. See more »

Goofs

When David confronts Lucy at the impound yard, he pulls her left arm away from the steering wheel. In the next shot, it has returned. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Professor David Lurie: I haven't heard from my daughter.
Soraya: Still living with a woman.
Professor David Lurie: Yes, still a lesbian. Still on the farm. She thinks it's safe there.
Soraya: No where's safe. Too many people with nothing to do but cause trouble. How's work?
Professor David Lurie: They look through me when I speak. Forget my name.
Soraya: There's no respect anymore. Have you missed me?
Professor David Lurie: I miss you all the time.
See more »

Soundtracks

"Mieleni'
Written by K. Motijoane
Performed by Western Holdings
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User Reviews

 
Bleak morality tale
14 July 2009 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

Both J.M. Coetzee's novel and its film adaptation leave their audience wanting more answers. Disgrace is a confronting and brutal tale of life in modern South Africa. The message is clear. There are no simple solutions.

Literary academic David Lurie's admiration of Byron seems to have formed his personal morality and his professional ethics.

His amorality leads to a doomed relationship that precipitates both work and identity crises. His alienation from university colleagues and students results in a refusal to defend his reputation or his professorial position.

He is not the victim of an old fool's infatuation but the arrogance of a serial Casanova. He quotes William Blake as his sole defence, "Sooner strangle an infant in its cradle than nurse unacted desires." His retreat to his daughter's remote farm entangles their individual problems in the realities of life in the post apartheid era.

Director Steve Jacobs and screenwriter Anna Maria Monticelli continue their professional and personal partnership as co-producers. Their earlier collaboration on La spagnola in 2001 was another Australian production that is a minor gem.

John Malkovich's ability to convey complete self absorption and intense self doubt without dialogue make him an excellent choice for David. Relative newcomer Jessica Haines plays his daughter Lucy. Hers is a competent and moving performance. Eriq Ebouaney strikes the right tone in a difficult role as Petrus, the black farmer and her co-landholder.

Disgrace is an adaptation that more than does justice to the novel. Like the book, it does not sensationalise or over-dramatise this extremely difficult story. I had misgivings before the screening because the novel seemed so bleak. Lucy's compromise and David's acceptance of her decision offer such slim hope.

We are left with little doubt that this is an allegory for the issues facing modern multi-racial South Africa. Yet it is at the personal level that the film is most powerful.

Kevin Rennie Cinema Takes http://cinematakes.blogspot.com


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