A white middle class South African suburbanite with no interest in politics agrees to help his black gardener find his jailed son. His investigation opens his eyes to the horrors committed by the secret police and turns him into a target.
Ben du Toit (Donald Sutherland) is a schoolteacher who always has considered himself a man of caring and justice, at least on the individual level. When his gardener, Stanley's (Zakes Mokae's) son, Jonathan (Bekhithemba Mpofu), is brutally beaten up by the Police at a demonstration by black school children, he gradually begins to realize his own society is built on a pillar of injustice and exploitation.Written by
The meaning and relevance of the movie and source novel's "A Dry White Season" title is, according to scholieren.com, the explanation of the title is such: "A dry white season refers to the dry white season when he was just a little boy. His father lost all of his sheep during that season, forcing them to sell the farm and move. The dry white season took everything from them, leaving them alone and scorched among the white skeletons of dead sheep. It was where he first discovered himself and the world. Now he's enduring another dry white season. Everything is being taken from him. He's facing himself and the world ones again." See more »
When Susan walks in on Ben and Stanley on Christmas day, she is carrying 2 suitcases and does not have her jacket draped on her shoulders. In the next scene, she is leaving the room with the jacket around her shoulders, is carrying only 1 suitcase and it is different than either of the ones she was carrying initially. See more »
One day in South Africa in the 1960's, a young black man was walking along the street with his aged mother. Coming along the road was a young white man. The young black man knew that apartheid law and custom meant that the white would probably barge the two blacks off the pavement and into the gutter. The law would protect him and the young black man might be imprisoned for defending himself. The young black man tensed his muscles and prepared to defend his mother, but was amazed when the Englishman stepped off the pavement and doffed his broad brimmed hat in greeting. Later on the two would become friends and allies. The white man was to become bishop Trevor Huddleston, the black man, bishop Desmond Tutu.
That story is NOT the story of A Dry White season, but it is of a kindred spirit. Like the gesture of Trevor Huddleston, the story of Ben de Tor is a gesture against apartheid. A glimmer of hope, but merely that, a flicker.
It must be five years since I saw a Dry White Season but I still remember how I felt leaving the cinema. It is a film which will stay with you.
The plot follows a white South African on an adventure through bewilderment, revelation, denial, disgust, and a futile attempt to fight a grossly unfair system.
I can't go into detail after this length of time but the cameos in this film would be worth the video rental. Marlon Brando (yes) steals the show as the lawyer who knows exactly how hopeless the fight against apartheid is but agrees to fight anyway.
The political situation today in South Africa is a world away from that of A Dry White Season. Watch it and never forget.
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