Saturday, May 20, 2006

FORGIVENESS: Poignant and brooding

Cast: Arnold Vosloo, Quanita Adams and Denise Newman
Director: Ian Gabriel
Time: 104 mins
Rating: * *
Denise Newman in FORGIVENESS
WHAT’S IT ABOUT? A former cop, Tertius Coetzees (Vosloo of The Mummy fame), drives to an isolated South African fishing village called Paternoster ostensibly to seek forgiveness from the family of Daniel Grootboom, a student activist he had ‘helped’ to kill some 10 years ago. The parents reluctantly accept his offer of condolences but the two siblings, Sannie (Adams) and Ernest (Christo Davids), have ‘other plans’ for him.

WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL? This poignant movie is made six years after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Hearings aimed at mending South Africa’s wounds of the Apartheid era. God knows there are a lot of sins to be forgiven and the definition of ‘amnesty’ is also explored.

HIGHLIGHTS: The location setting of the quiet, dusty fishing village helps to amplify the brooding, guilt-ridden feelings of the protagonist. First-time director Gabriel also explores the religious and cultural beliefs like self-punishment with a garden hose, the significance of sea-shells and the omens of the sea. For a low-budget effort, the performances are commendable.

LOWLIGHTS: The colour of this 2004 digital movie tends to run a bit and the pace is slow. It would help a lot if we are told why the pill-popping Coetzee is so much in need of forgiveness. Is that necessary for him to get to Heaven?

THE LOWDOWN? Only for those who seek something different in the cinema.


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