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Disgrace (2008)

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After having an affair with a student, a Cape Town professor moves to the Eastern Cape, where he gets caught up in a mess of post-apartheid politics.

Director:

Steve Jacobs

Writers:

J.M. Coetzee (novel), Anna Maria Monticelli (screenplay)
5 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Malkovich ... Professor David Lurie
Jessica Haines Jessica Haines ... Lucy Lurie
Eriq Ebouaney ... Petrus
Fiona Press ... Bev Shaw
Antoinette Engel Antoinette Engel ... Melanie Isaacs
Natalie Becker ... Soraya
Antonio Fisher Antonio Fisher ... Sidney - Student
Isabella De Villiers Isabella De Villiers ... Mrs. Cundell - Student
Cindy Mkaza Cindy Mkaza ... Mrs. Mbeti - Student
Liezel De Kock Liezel De Kock ... Student Director
Charles Tertiens Charles Tertiens ... Ryan
David Dennis David Dennis ... Mr. Isaacs (as David Denis)
Paula Arundell Paula Arundell ... Dr Farodia Rassool
Anne Looby Anne Looby ... Rosalind
David Ritchie David Ritchie ... Manas Mathbane
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Storyline

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 KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

What is a mad heart? See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content, nudity, some violence and brief language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Australia | South Africa

Language:

English | Xhosa | Afrikaans | Zulu

Release Date:

18 June 2009 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

Desgracia See more »

Filming Locations:

South Africa See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$12,615, 20 September 2009, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$66,643, 4 October 2009
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

'Disgrace' won the Best Narrative Film (The Black Pearl) Award at the Middle East Film Festival 2008. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[first lines]
Professor David Lurie: I haven't heard from my daughter.
Soraya: Still living with a woman.
Professor David Lurie: Yes, still a lesbian. Still on the farm. She thinks it's safe there.
Soraya: No where's safe. Too many people with nothing to do but cause trouble. How's work?
Professor David Lurie: They look through me when I speak. Forget my name.
Soraya: There's no respect anymore. Have you missed me?
Professor David Lurie: I miss you all the time.
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Connections

References Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939) See more »

Soundtracks

Five Bells
Written and performed by Dorothy Masuka
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User Reviews

 
Bleak morality tale
14 July 2009 | by kevin-rennieSee all my reviews

Both J.M. Coetzee's novel and its film adaptation leave their audience wanting more answers. Disgrace is a confronting and brutal tale of life in modern South Africa. The message is clear. There are no simple solutions.

Literary academic David Lurie's admiration of Byron seems to have formed his personal morality and his professional ethics.

His amorality leads to a doomed relationship that precipitates both work and identity crises. His alienation from university colleagues and students results in a refusal to defend his reputation or his professorial position.

He is not the victim of an old fool's infatuation but the arrogance of a serial Casanova. He quotes William Blake as his sole defence, "Sooner strangle an infant in its cradle than nurse unacted desires." His retreat to his daughter's remote farm entangles their individual problems in the realities of life in the post apartheid era.

Director Steve Jacobs and screenwriter Anna Maria Monticelli continue their professional and personal partnership as co-producers. Their earlier collaboration on La spagnola in 2001 was another Australian production that is a minor gem.

John Malkovich's ability to convey complete self absorption and intense self doubt without dialogue make him an excellent choice for David. Relative newcomer Jessica Haines plays his daughter Lucy. Hers is a competent and moving performance. Eriq Ebouaney strikes the right tone in a difficult role as Petrus, the black farmer and her co-landholder.

Disgrace is an adaptation that more than does justice to the novel. Like the book, it does not sensationalise or over-dramatise this extremely difficult story. I had misgivings before the screening because the novel seemed so bleak. Lucy's compromise and David's acceptance of her decision offer such slim hope.

We are left with little doubt that this is an allegory for the issues facing modern multi-racial South Africa. Yet it is at the personal level that the film is most powerful.

Kevin Rennie Cinema Takes http://cinematakes.blogspot.com


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