I had seen this in the cinema some 7 or 8 months ago and when I saw it on sale on DVD, I snatched it up immediately; this is a film I will definitely watch many times before it's exhausted its fascination.
This is unquestionably one of the strangest films ever made, and one of the most intriguing and even beautiful. Slight spoiler: *It does NOT have a happy ending, but it IS, nevertheless, a tremendously positive ending.* The love story involved is complex and clearly developed with an eye firmly fixed on the morality, ideas, and misinformation endemic to the early 18th century, when the "real life story" took place. Nevertheless, the film is chockablock full of some very strange anachronisms. Nevertheless, both the buddy I saw it with and I were able, very early on in the film, to adapt easily to that. Subsequently, I DID find out that, as I had expected, Greyson, the director, and Lewis, the writer along with Greyson, did those wild anachronisms deliberately in order to underscore, so to speak, the fact that racism, homophobia and class differences are as alive and well in the 21st century as they were in the 18th.
The main focus is on the two lovers, but the Scottish botanist -- Spoiler: *present more as observer and sympathizer as anything else, though he is a major plot element* -- helps to open the story out to a much wider impact than a "mere" prison romance could allow for.
Beautifully acted (particularly Rouxnet Brown, Neil Sandilands (the lovers) and Shaun Smyth (the Scots botanist, though ALL really do a splendid job with difficult material), for a film that was made on the merest wisp of funding fantastic production values, and, IMHO, great heart.
A Canadian/South African Film Treaty movie, it pleased me enormously to learn that some of that micro-funding actually came from the government of SA! My major criticism of the film is the somewhat confused subtitling: There are, apparently, some four languages used in the film, Afrikans, Dutch, English and the click tongue of the Bushmen. *Once or twice the language on screen was subtitled in a non-English language.* A bit frustrating but scarcely off-putting.
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