A World Apart (1988)


Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5

United Kingdom/Zimbabwe, 1988.  Atlantic Entertainment Group, British Screen Productions, Channel Four Films, Hippo Films Zimbabwe, Working Title Films, World Apart.  Screenplay by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

Like A Dry White Season, this film illuminates the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa, though unlike Euzhan Palcy’s film it is not a conventional thriller. Jodhi May is terrific as a young girl growing up in the sixties whose activist parents (Barbara Hershey, Jeroen Krabbe) inspire anger from their all-white community for their attempts to raise awareness of the evils of segregation. May herself is educated on the politics of her country thanks to being shunned by her neighbours, while also feeling the sting of being ignored by her mother, who concentrates more on her journalistic efforts than on her daughter.   Trouble starts when authorities start to suspect the family of ‘subversive activities’ (i.e. some of their party guests are black).

Superb direction by Oscar-winning cinematographer Chris Menges guides this fascinating story that is told with great skill and intelligence, and features top-notch acting from the entire cast. The three women of the cast, Hershey, May and Linda Mvusi, made Cannes Film Festival history when they were jointly awarded the Best Actress prize (Hershey also made history for winning an acting prize for the second year in a row, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished by any other actor before or since).

Cannes Film Festival Awards Grand Jury Prize; Best Actress (Barbara Hershey, Jodhi May, Linda Mvusi)


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