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' won the Best Narrative Film (The Black Pearl) Award at the Middle East Film Festival 2008. See more »
The notices in the lecture theater "Mid-term test" and "Casanova - your time is over" appear to have been written by the same person. Given the professionalism adopted by the university in its investigation of Mr Laurie it does not seem plausible to suggest that one person (say, a teacher's aide) wrote both notices. See more »
I haven't read the award-winning book on which it is based, but Steve Jacob's film 'Disgrace' is a thoughtful and intelligent story about wrongdoing and reconciliation that quite explicitly functions as a microcosm of post-Apartheid South Africa and its relationship with its own past. In it, John Malkovich's disgraced, womanising and cynical ex-University professor comes to understand the value of offering contrition (when reparation is not obviously a feasible outcome) after his daughter is attacked and there is nothing corresponding to justice available for her. Indeed, she lives (in the remote highlands) where the very basis of power (which is ultimately needed to support justice) is undergoing a practical (though ugly) renegotiation, and the attack itself is seen (by her, though not by her father) in this context. The fact that both the professor and his daughter are, in their own ways, prickly and proud characters, makes the story more interesting; and the temptation for melodrama is resisted at every turn (indeed, while the most obviously dramatic scenes are being played out, the bigger event is occurring off-camera). It takes a lot of discipline to make a film this way; but there's a pay off - it feels real throughout, and makes you think by avoiding all the easy clichés.
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