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His Big White Self (2006)

TV Movie  |   |  Documentary  |  3 April 2006 (UK)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 170 users  
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Broomfield revisits his classic and lethal documentary on the Boer separatist Eugene Terre'Blanche, THE LEADER, HIS DRIVER AND THE DRIVER'S WIFE. This time, he had to go back in disguise, ... See full summary »

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Director: Nick Broomfield
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Nick Broomfield ...
Himself
Anita Meyer ...
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J.P. Meyer ...
Himself
Eugene Terre'Blanche ...
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Broomfield revisits his classic and lethal documentary on the Boer separatist Eugene Terre'Blanche, THE LEADER, HIS DRIVER AND THE DRIVER'S WIFE. This time, he had to go back in disguise, apparently as a character from a Jilly Cooper novel. Written by Anonymous

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3 April 2006 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Den store vite mannen  »

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Eugene Terre'Blanche: [discussing his incarceration in prison] I had a murderer beneath me and a rapist on top of me.
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Interesting documentary that is robbed of value of value by Broomfield's ego
20 June 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

In 1991 Nick Broomfield's documentary "The Leader, the Driver & the Driver's Wife" sought to interview South Africa's AWB leader Eugene Terreblanche. Terreblanche's difficult manner make this a near impossible task and forced Broomfield to make a film about this challenge as much as about getting access to the man himself. However the film was a success and in some ways contributed to bringing down Terreblanche by exposing him as a buffoon and a figure of ridicule rather than a strong political leader for the future. Fifteen years later, Terreblanche has been released from jail after a short sentence and Broomfield decides to try and interview him now in the light of all the changes in South Africa since the first film.

Some viewers have commented that it would have been a much more effective use of a film to pick up the story of South Africa since 1991 rather than recommencing the bun fight between two egotistical men (Terreblanche and Broomfield). Although this comment is valid, it should be noted that for the majority of the film, he actually does do the former pretty well and it is only in the final third that the film becomes more about the men than the country. The story of Terreblanche from the last film onwards is well told mainly because it focuses less on him and more on the wider political changes within South Africa and how he was merely one of many characters within that story. It is interesting stuff that is worth watching for.

However the final third is annoyingly indulgent as Broomfield finally gets to his target, tricking his way into the man's house as part of a film crew professing to be shooting a piece about Terreblanche's poetry. Wearing a hat and big sunglasses, it is hard not to pick up the air of smugness as Broomfield tricks him and you can feel the urge he must have had to pull his hat off and reveal who he is. If he genuinely wanted to make a film that found out about the man as he is know it would have been a simple matter to send a crew to do the shoot and simply stay away. The fact that he didn't just exposes that what he wanted was conflict – not a story. His delivery of the rest of the film is good although I personally struggled with his dull narration and lack of personality.

Overall then this is an OK film for the most part because it does providing an interesting look at the last 15 years in South Africa. However the presence of Broomfield and his quest to have a second go at Terreblanche is a distraction that eventually bubbles over into a pointless final thirty minutes. It must rankle Broomfield that Terreblanche didn't recognise him and, once he supposedly did, that he didn't make a big deal out of it! Interesting but hardly a worthwhile endeavour to try and pick over old conflicts.


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