In 1976, Jack Unterweger was convicted for the murder of Margaret Schaefer and sentenced to life in prison. While imprisoned, he committed himself to reading and writing, eventually earning... See full summary »
At a wake one night in 1945, a group of aged women recall the life of one of their number. Sixty years before, Thérèse was barely 20 years old when she eloped with her boyfriend, Firmin, a ... See full summary »
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
"Disgrace" is a modern classic about South Africa. It is thoughtful yet disturbing, rich with emotion but grating, fertile yet ravaging. This is no place for pussy cats. It is exhilaratingly realistic, laced with romantic sentiment and veined by the theme of adamantine loyalty an excellent movie. It puts the older well-intentioned but unctuous films about South Africa like the adaptations of "Cry the Beloved Country" to shame for their naiveté.
"Disgrace" is a story with a hard parable: wolves eat dogs. In spite of the fact that in the film's DVD "bonus" section there so much talk about being "forward looking" and positive; far more than these feel-good qualities is the story's demand for survival, the need to adapt to the environment (regardless of its warmth or gentle, amiable qualities).
On one level "Disgrace" is "Ryan's Daughter" without romance but a hell of a feeling. In terms of actors & characters it's first rate. Malkovich is perfectly cast as the self-indulgent & Byronically self-destructive university professor. Nathalie Becker is ace perfect in tone and body; sexual but not sexy, fertile yet dry. She is the land of South Africa. In opposition & complement is the brilliant black actor Eriq Ebouaney, the power of whose character grows on you like a root of meaning taking hold. His grace & subtlety as an actor in the demanding role he plays gives new depth to the otherwise over-used theme of identity politics.
"Disgrace" is a worthy, worrying film; far more gritty docudrama than bloodless fiction.
3 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?