Long-awaited Film About Desmond Tutu Finally On The Big Screen

Monday, September 3, 2018 - 08:08

While it has been two decades since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission concluded, bringing to a close South Africa’s cathartic period of reckoning with its violent history of racial segregation, director Roland Joffé’s new film returns to that time to grapple with the terrible truths of apartheid and its legacy.

Based on Michael Ashton’s play The Archbishop and the Antichrist (the playwright collaborated on the screenplay with Joffé), THE FORGIVEN is a fictionalised account of Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s efforts as the head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to confront the atrocities of apartheid in an attempt to heal and unite South Africa.

Explaining the reasoning behind the film, Joffé says: “This is a subject that’s both social and political but also rather personal, because let’s be honest, we’ve all done things in our lives that we need forgiveness for, that we haven’t come to terms with. We’re all prisoners of our history, whether it’s social, cultural or family.”

Two-time academy nominee Joffé has gained a reputation for hard-hitting political stories and THE FORGIVEN, like his 1984 cinematic breakthrough The Killing Fields, is cerebral and unflinchingly violent in its depiction of South Africa’s recent political history.

The drama follows Archbishop Desmond Tutu, masterfully portrayed by Forest Whitaker, and his struggle – morally and intellectually – with brutal murderer and member of a former apartheid-era hit squad Piet Blomfeld (Eric Bana), over redemption and forgiveness.

When Tutu receives a highly articulate letter pleading for clemency, written by the convicted murderer, he becomes intrigued enough to visit the prisoner in his cell; here the two men have a series of intense conversations about guilt and forgiveness.

Academy Award winner Whitaker delivers a finely nuanced performance, conveying Tutu's formidable inner strength, dignity and compassion. Having previously portrayed a South African in the film Zulu (2013), he already had an informed understanding of South Africa’s history, which he utilises to add depth and power to his performance as the Archbishop.

Despite being one of Hollywood's most acclaimed actors, Whitaker confessed that playing Tutu proved to be one of the biggest challenges of his career. “I knew his laugh, his sense of humour, how he felt, his passion, and his faith. But he has a graceful way in which he looks at the world. Trying to pull those things together, to capture the spirit of the man, was challenging.”

Bana, too, delivers a powerhouse performance, using his physicality and charisma to make a loathsome character suitably scary, but also very human.

This is probably the most intimidating character I’ve ever played,” admits the Australian actor. “The key to the character, for me, was just throwing myself into South African history. There was so much that I needed to know, before I could stand any chance of understanding where Blomfeld’s warped sense of entitlement came from. It was just one of those roles where you have to really jump into the deep end, and trying to learn and understand a lot of the history was the first step.”

Produced by Craig Baumgarten and South African producing partner Zaheer Goodman-Bhyat from Light and Dark Films, the film was shot completely in and around Cape Town, including at one of the world’s most dangerous prison facilities, Pollsmoor Maximum Security Prison. It also boasts strong performances by Jeff Gum, Morné Visser and Thandi Makhubele.

According to the producers, the story is poignant and timely. “It reminds us of Archbishop Tutu’s gift of forgiveness and the healing it brings, and we are honoured to tell this story.”

The Archbishop himself has given the project his blessing, saying: “This timely, compelling and intelligent film, movingly, and above all humanely, captures what it felt like to be working with those selfless members of the TRC who strove, often against the odds, to help bring both truth and reconciliation to the ordinary people of South Africa. The film is a tribute to the remarkable and healing power of forgiveness and the outstanding compassion and courage of those who offered love and forgiveness as an antidote to hate and inhumanity. This is not only a film about a certain time and place, it is a pean of hope to humanity at large.”

With potent acting, relevant social commentary, adept writing and direction, THE FORGIVEN is a powerful film, and the ultimate testament to the power of forgiveness and finding common ground in our humanity.

THE FORGIVEN was produced by international award-winning feature film and television production company Light and Dark Films. The film will be released in cinemas, nationwide, on 5 October 2018, and is distributed by Filmfinity (Pty) Ltd.

Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lpuc162YpI

SOCIAL MEDIA
For more information on THE FORGIVEN, including official trailers, please visit our Facebook Page or follow us on Twitter at @TeamFinityZA, using #TheForgivenFilm.

Die Langverwagte Fliek Oor Desmond Tutu Uiteindelik Op Die Grootskerm

Byna twee dekades nadat die Waarheids-en-versoeningskommissie dit reggekry het om ’n einde te bring aan ’n katartiese tydperk van rekenskap in Suid-Afrika se gewelddadige geskiedenis van rassediskriminasie, neem regisseur Roland Joffé se nuwe rolprent jou terug in tyd om jou met die verskriklike waarhede van apartheid, en die nalatenskap daarvan, te konfronteer.

THE FORGIVEN is gebaseer op Michael Ashton se verhoogstuk, The Archbishop and the Antichrist (hy het Joffé ook bygestaan met die skep van die draaiboek), en is ’n fiktiewe vertelling van Aartsbiskop Desmond Tutu se pogings, as die hoof van die Waarheids-en-versoeningskommissie om die gruweldade van apartheid te konfronteer in ’n poging om Suid-Afrika te genees en te verenig

Oor die rede agter die film, sê Joffé: “Hierdie is ’n onderwerp wat sosiaal en polities van aard is, maar ook baie persoonlik. As ons eerlik is, het ons almal al dinge gedoen waarvoor ons vergifnis soek en nog nie verwerk het nie. Ons is almal gevangenes van ons geskiedenis, of dit nou sosiaal-, kultureel- of familie-verwant is.”

Die Oscar-benoemde Joffé is bekend vir sy opspraakwekkende politiese stories en THE FORGIVEN is, net soos sy 1984-treffer - The Killing Fields, ’n intelligente en gewelddadige weergawe van Suid-Afrika se politiese geskiedenis.

Die drama volg Aartsbiskop Desmond Tutu, wat uitstekend vertolk word deur Forest Whitaker, in sy morele en intellektuele stryd met die wrede moordenaar en lid van ’n voormalige apartheidsera-groep, Piet Blomfeld (Eric Bana), oor verlossing en vergifnis.

Wanneer Tutu ’n omvattende brief van die veroordeelde moordenaar ontvang, waarin hy om genade pleit, besluit hy om hom in sy tronksel te gaan besoek. Hier voer die twee mans ’n reeks intense gesprekke oor skuldgevoelens en vergifnis.

Oscar-bekroonde Whitaker lewer puik toneelspel, wat Tutu se formidabele innerlike krag, waardigheid en deernis perfek weergee. Omdat hy reeds in die fliek Zulu (2013) die rol van ’n Suid-Afrikaner gespeel het, het hy agtergrond van Suid-Afrikaanse geskiedenis en kon hy dit gebruik vir sy rol as die Aartsbiskop.

Alhoewel hy een van Hollywood se mees gerespekteerde akteurs is, erken Whitaker dat die rol van Tutu een van die grootste uitdagings was van sy loopbaan sover. “Ek het presies geweet hoe hy lag, hoe sy sin vir humor is, hoe hy gevoel het en wat sy passie en geloof is, maar hy het hierdie grasieuse manier waarop hy na die lewe kyk. Dit was ’n groot uitdaging om al daardie dinge saam te voeg en die gees van hierdie man vas te vang.”

Bana is ook briljant in die rol van Piet Blomfeld en gebruik sy fisiese eienskappe en charisma om die gehate karakter as gevaarlik, maar ook baie menslik, uit te beeld.

Hierdie is een van die mees intimiderende karakters wat ek nog ooit moes speel,” erken die Australiaanse akteur. “Vir my was die sleutel tot hierdie karakter om in die Suid-Afrikaanse geskiedenis rond te delf. Daar was so baie wat ek moes weet, om te verstaan waar Blomfeld se verwronge sin van geregtigheid vandaan kom. Dit was een van daardie rolle waar jy aan die diepkant moet inspring en om dit te kon doen moes ek eers die geskiedenis verstaan.”

Die rolprent, wat vervaardig is deur Craig Baumgarten en Suid-Afrikaanse produksievennoot, Zaheer Goodman-Bhyat van Light and Dark Films, is in en rondom Kaapstad verfilm met tonele by een van die wêreld se gevaarlikste tronke, die Pollsmoor Maksimumsekuriteitsgevangenis. Jeff Gum, Morné Visser en Thandi Makhubele is ook in die fliek te sien.

Volgens die vervaardigers, is die storie aangrypend en relevant. “Dit herinner ons aan Aartsbiskop Tutu se geskenk van vergifnis en die genesing wat dit bring. Dis vir ons ’n eer om sy storie te vertel.”

Die Aartsbiskop het ook sy toestemming gegee vir die prent en sê: “Hierdie intelligente, aangrypende, hartroerende en menslike fliek, vang vas hoe dit gevoel het om saam met die onbaatsugtige lede van die Waarheids-en-versoeningskommissie te werk, wat daarna gestreef het om, ten spyte van omstandighede, die mense van Suid-Afrika te verenig. Dit is ’n huldeblyk aan die merkwaardige en genesende krag van vergifnis en die onfelooflike deernis en dapperheid van diegene wat liefde en vergifnis gebied het as die teenmiddel vir haat en onmenslikheid. Dit is nie net ’n rolprent oor ’n sekere tyd en plek nie, maar ook ’n baken van hoop vir die mensdom in die algemeen.”

Aangrypende toneelspel, relevante sosiale kommentaar en uitstaande skryfwerk en regie, maak van THE FORGIVEN ’n treffende fliek en ware getuigskrif van die krag van vergifnis en hoe moontlik dit is vir die mensdom om ’n gemeenskaplike platform te vind.

THE FORGIVEN is vervaardig deur die internasionaal-bekroonde rolprent- en televisieproduksiemaatskappy, Light and Dark Films. Die sal op datum by plaaslike bioskope regoor die land begin draai en word versprei deur Filmfinity (Edms) Bpk.

KYK DIE LOKPRENT HIER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lpuc162YpI

SOSIALEMEDIA
Vir meer inligting oor THE FORGIVEN, insluitend die amptelike lokprent, hou ons Facebook-blad dop of volg ons op Twitter by @TeamFinityZA en gebruik die hutsmerk #TheForgivenFilm om oor die fliek te gesels.