IFFR 29th Januari 2005

A short update about the movies seen today (or yesterday by now):

  • Veere: A Dutch short. Nice pictures, but it couldn’t grab me, like some of the Thai shorts yesterday.
  • Hotel: The movies has a lot of suspense, the script and the plot are nice. To bad the suspense is all it’s got. The characters are not deepened, the suspense is not played to a climax.
  • Z Channel A magnificient obsession: An interesting documentary about Jerry Harvey, the programmer of Z Channel, a legendary Californian cable channel. The movie contains a lot of short fragments from a large variety of movies, from Novacento to Das Boot. Z Channel played an important role in broadening the horizon of Hollywood and the US to movies from Europe and Asia. Worthwhile seeing for all those who are interested in cinema beyond blockbusters.
  • Survive Style 5+: An outrageous movie. The first hour is terrific, whith fantastic art direction on which Abba would be jealous. Also very good camerawork, with wonderfull shots in it. The story is difficult to tell, as the movie contains several story lines which are mingled during the movie.
  • The Rock Music: Strange Russian (?) short about rock music. Funny though.
  • Bed Stories: Seven stories told in different beds, but at the end they are all connected. I’m glad I saw a Russian movie I did like this year.
  • Forgiveness: See my post about the movie.

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