Movie Reviews: Cry, The Beloved Country




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    Miramax (1 hr. 51. min.)
      Based on Alan Paton's novel, a benevolent South African pastor and a weathy white land owner's boundries of forgiveness and racial harmony are tested.
     James Earl Jones, Richard Harris, Eric Miyeni, Charles S. Dutton
Bottom Line:


     Academy Award nominee James Earl Jones plays Rev. Stephen Kumalo who lives in a Zulu Village high in the green mountains. The film opens in 1940, Kumalo has to travel to Johannesburg to get his sister who has become a prostitute, and hopefully visit his son that he hasn't heard from in a long time.
      Kumalo discovers from his brother Charles S. Dutton, a political activist, that both their sons were sent to a reform school for stealing. Since then, the two boys have been released and disappeared. Kumalo also learns of the recent murder of his neighbor's son, Arthur Jarvis. The father, James Jarvis (Richard Harris) is a wealthy white land owner and a racist.
     The crux of the movie is Kumalo coming to grips with having to tell Jarvis that his son is responsible for the white boy's murder. (I guess you saw that coming, uh?)
     The film deals with the humanity of racism, forgiveness and loss. What sets Cry, The Beloved Country apart from other films about South Africa is that while we are accustomed to seeing violence in these types of movies, in Cry, The Beloved Country, it's all off-camera, which, as Hitchcock proved, can be even more compelling and disturbing. The story uses violence and Apartheid as a backdrop, but focuses on Kumalo and Jarvis' coming to terms with the shared tragedy.



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