6.3/10
595
14 user 16 critic

Proteus (2003)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 7 June 2004 (USA)
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.

Directors:

John Greyson, Jack Lewis (uncredited)

Writers:

John Greyson (script), Jack Lewis (script) | 1 more credit »

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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Rouxnet Brown Rouxnet Brown ... Claas Blank
Shaun Smyth ... Virgil Niven
Neil Sandilands ... Rijkhaart Jacobz
Kristen Thomson ... Kate
Tessa Jubber ... Elize
Terry Norton Terry Norton ... Betsy
Adrienne Pierce Adrienne Pierce ... Tinnie (as Adrienne Pearce)
Grant Swanby ... Willer
Brett Goldin Brett Goldin ... Lourens
A.J. van der Merwe A.J. van der Merwe ... Settler
Deon Lotz ... Governor
Jeroen Kranenburg Jeroen Kranenburg ... Scholz
Andre Samuels Andre Samuels ... !Nanseb
Johan Jacobs Johan Jacobs ... Nama Prisoner
Katrina Kaffer 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

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Canada | South Africa

Language:

English | Afrikaans | Dutch | Nama

Release Date:

7 June 2004 (USA) See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,047, 1 August 2004

Gross USA:

$62,031

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$62,031
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Pluck Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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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

 
A handsome, challenging and classy gem of a movie.
20 June 2004 | by moviegoer_2See all my reviews

A handsome, classy gem of a movie, imaginatively shot on a very low budget by Greyson the way he did the uneven, yet interesting, "Lilies". I don't want to say much about the plot, which is based on facts, but be prepare for gorgeous scenery, some pointed nodes (to Todd Haynes' Poison, Tom of Fineland and Jean Genet) and completely believable performances by a first-rate, though unknown, cast.

A mixed bag of a love story (two men on a penitentiary island; one is white, the other is black; one is gay, the other is not; add a "curious", repressed warden and a definite taste for botanic and you'll have an idea) that actually works, thanks to a refreshing lack of camp. And, for those of you wandering, the title has nothing to do whatsoever with science-fiction, "Proteus" being the name of a beautiful flower used here literally and, most of all, metaphorically.

Definitely not your average "gay movie", and certainly not to everyone's taste, "Proteus" is challenging yet generous toward those who are willing for something a little different. Stick with this one.


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