Dry White Season
(1985/all IndiePix DVDs)/In
(2004/Sony/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)
B/C/C/C/B+ Sound: B-/C/C/C/B Extras: B-/C-/C-/C-/B Films:
Blu-ray is now only available from our friends at Twilight Time, is
limited to only 3,000 copies and can be ordered while supplies last
from the links below.
Africa has possibly the most untold stories of any country in the
world thanks to the horrors of apartheid, now ended, but the country
still has many problems. The following underseen films, a few you
may have heard of, reveal the truth in their own way....
start with Euzhan Palcy's A
Dry White Season
(1989) one of the few films still talked about and remembered from
the cycle of anti-Apartheid films that turned up in the 1980s before
the power structure that made the extremely violent, oppressive
policy possible for decades finally collapsed, but the makers had no
idea that was only a few years away. Donald Sutherland is a well-off
South African man with a family and treats all persons of color
fairly, but when the son of one of his friends is brutalized by local
authorities for doing nothing, he believes he can intervene and get
closure and answers on the situation.
good guy, it turns out he is also a naive one, all of which takes a
great turn when he seeks the services of a reputable lawyer who he
thinks can help. The lawyer knows better and is apparently sick of
the way things have been, but takes the case reluctantly because he
knows he will not get the justice Sutherland's good father seeks.
Best of all, the lawyer is played by none other than Marlon Brando,
who received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for what
amounts to only 17 minutes of screen time. Why?
as brutally violent and honest the film gets, it also is a little
slow-moving and maybe not daring enough in other ways to make
important points, so Brando shows up and essentially steals the movie
and makes its most important points: the system is totally corrupt
and any justice is a racially slanted fraud. After an opening where
he is respectfully toying with Sutherland's character, he transforms
into someone you 100% believe has lived in the country all his life
and what Brando achieves is remarkable.
rest of the cast (including obvious non-actors who work just fine)
include Susan Sarandon as a reporter native to the country trying to
find out what is going on, but she is also paralyzed and not able to
quite get to the truth. The film runs 106 minutes, but could have
used a few more and a little more about South African persons of
color, though Miss Palcy is of color and the first ever hired to
direct a major hollywood studio feature film. Turns out she was very
correct in what she was portraying and enough so that it is why
Criterion rightly includes the film in their collection.
1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image is
from a new 4K transfer and though it shows the grain present, it was
there back in the 1989 35mm print I saw and that is not
second-generation material. There are also great shots that exceed
my rating and color range can be very impressive in ways you will not
expect. The PCM 2.0 Stereo lossless mix duplicates the Dolby analog
theatrical sound with mono surrounds and sounds as good as it can,
though recording limitations late in the analog sound era (though
from a magnetic soundmaster) can be heard as well.
booklet with tech info and an essay by filmmaker and scholar Jyoti
Mistry, while the Blu-ray disc adds a new interview with director
Euzhan Palcy by film critic Scott Foundas, Five
a new program featuring Palcy, Interview from 1989 with actor Donald
Sutherland, Excerpt from a 1995 interview Palcy conducted with Nelson
Mandela and Footage of Palcy receiving the highest distinction for
foreign dignitaries at the 2017 South African National Orders awards.
up are three
more films made by oppressed South Africans of color for them, Bevis
(1984, an attempt to do a detective film with an irrepressible lead),
Japie Van Der Merwe's The
(1984, a comedy about a 'magic ring' that can bring luck, but seems
to bring misery and is a curse instead; the film has mixed results)
and Coenie Dippenaar's Revenge
(1985, a revenge western that is not bad, though not as good as
is the second set of three films from a restoration project of these
otherwise lost films of South African cinema that are being recovered
the best they can be, despite possible censorship, destruction and
all being orphan films. For more on the films and the first three
covered, go to this link for more information and films...
a trailer is the only extra for each, while the
anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image quality has unavoidable flaws.
The same can be said for the stereo-at-best sound presented in lossy
Dolby Digital 2.0 sound on all DVDs. Though I did not know what to
expect, I still enjoy how hard everyone works to overcome their low
budgets (most of this is shot on 16mm film, more of a luxury today,
ironically) and they are all worth a look if you are interested or
just pick a few to try out.
Samuel L. Jackson and Juliette Binoche star in the John Boorman's
(2004) that looks and sounds great on Blu-ray courtesy of Twilight
Time. The political drama centers around a poet and a journalist
both covering the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission
hearings in Cape Town. It's a bit of a wild card for Samuel L.
Jackson, who is usually in more tongue in cheek genre fare, but a
nice retreat for him in a more dramatic role.
also stars Brendan Gleeson, Menzi 'Ngubs' Ngubane, Sam Ngakane,
film is presented in 1080p high definition with a 1.85:1 widescreen
aspect ratio and multiple audio options in both English 5.0 DTS-HD MA
(Master Audio) and English 2.0 DTS-HD MA Stereo lossless sound. This
is, to my knowledge, the first time that this film has been updated
to HD and Twilight Time has done a meticulous job in making sure this
film looks and sounds fantastic. The cinematography is incredible in
this movie and the money is on the screen.
Commentary with Director John Boorman
Scenes with Optional Director Commentary
with Actress Juliette Binoche, Director John Boorman, Screenwriter
Ann Peacock, and Producers Robert Chartoff, Lynn Hendee, and Producer
a Collectible Insert Booklet with essay by Julie Kirgo.
order the In
limited edition Blu-ray, buy it and other exclusive while supplies
last at these links:
Nicholas Sheffo and James