Far more than a profile of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission the tribunal dedicated to forging peace and promoting unity in a country shattered by Apartheid this remarkable documentary is a wrenching reflection on the meaning of
reconciliation itself, and the possibility of forgiveness in the aftermath of inconceivable suffering. The TRC was formed in an attempt to help all South Africans black and white come to terms with their common past by investigating human rights abuses, helping make reparations and
considering applications for amnesty from persons who agreed to a full disclosure of acts committed for political purposes. It marked an unprecedented attempt to avoid the obfuscation, lies and denials that characterized tribunals of the past, and a way of confronting the horrors of recent history
and learning the truth about the fates of murdered and missing South Africans. Documentary filmmakers Frances Reid and Deborah Hoffmann focus on four separate cases brought before the Amnesty Committee. In the first, black men convicted of killing a white American student plead for amnesty,
explaining that had they been living reasonably, they wouldn't had acted o irrationally; the victim's parents, committed to the spirit of their daughter's life, plead in their defense. In the last and most powerful, the mothers of young, black South African men slain during a confrontation with
police meet their sons' killer: a fellow black African, a policeman who became part of an insidious conspiracy to entrap, then murder, the boys. Each case presents its own moral dilemmas, highlights the corrosive influence of the past and raises provocative questions about South Africa's future.
Only three of the four cases were resolved at the time their Reid and Hoffmann's film was finished, but verdicts seem to be beside the point of the film's most urgent message: Healing is a process that must begin with the truth.
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- Released: 2000
- Rating: NR
- Review: Far more than a profile of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission the tribunal dedicated to forging peace and promoting unity in a country shattered by Apartheid this remarkable documentary is a wrenching reflection on the meaning… (more)