Forgiveness (2004)

Forgiveness is an impressive movie about the healing process in South Africa after decades of apartheid. It tells the story of a disgraced police officer (Coetzee, played by Arnold Vosloo). He has been granted amnesty by the Truth and Reconcilliation Commision, but chooses to visit the family of Daniel Grootboom. An activist he killed during custody.

The first part of the movie is very intense, the first meetings with the familiy of Daniel are overloaded with emotions. During this part of the movie each member of the family has to reveil their true emotions about what happened. The daughter of the family, Sannie (Quanita Adams), calls the friends of her dead brother. They come down from Free State to finish the decade old story. In the rest of the movie the initial emotions and reactions of Daniels family to the visit of Coetzee change.

The cinomatography of the movie is good, with a breathtaking ending scene, which wouldn’t be misplaced in an Sergio Leone western. Although it was the 6th movie I saw today, Forgiveness is definitely one of the best movies I saw during the 2005 edition of the IFFR up to this moment. I was surprised to hear South African ‘blacks’ (to late to think of a political correct word for it) speak Afrikaans/Boers. It sounds alot like Dutch (I could even follow the sentences without the subtitles). From reading Antjie Kroch and other South-African writers I thougt that a lot of South Africans were abondoning Afrikaans as a language, because it has been the language of the white surpressor for so long. But maybe I’m wrong about this. After the screening I went to a party, but the images and dialogues of the movie kept coming back. So I left ‘early’.

Official site of Forgiveness

Forgiveness at the IMDB

Updated 29-3-05: corrections mentioned by Dick in his comment

0 gedachten over “Forgiveness (2004)”

  1. I agree with your opinion, but some of the details aren’t correct.
    The name of the family is Grootboom.
    The dead brother’s friends are not travelling from Cape Town (which is not so far from Paternoster, the village where the movie takes place). According to the numberplate on the black Ford they’re driving, the city where the friends come from, is situated in the Free State, which also explains why they travel through the Karoo desert.
    Then, the South African writer’s name is Antjie Krog instead of Aantje Kroch.

    Finally, more than half of the Afrikaans speakers are non-white. Although the official status of Afrikaans has significantly declined in the last decade, this language is still said to be the second mother tongue in South Africa, after isiZulu, but before English.


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