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March 11, 2005


Country_of_my_skull John Boorman ("Deliverance") shapes an imperfect film centered around Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Hearings which allowed 21,800 Apartheid victims to tell their traumatic stories directly to the faces of the perpetrators who, in turn, were awarded amnesty if they spoke the truth in retelling their horrible actions.

Juliette Binoche portrays Anna Malan an Afrikaner poet-turned-radio journalist who reports on the trials even as they implicate members of her own family in the genocide of South African blacks. Anna seeks temporary adulterous release in the arms of infuriated Washington Post journalist Langston Whitfield (Samuel L. Jackson).

In spite of narrative missteps that negate the possibility of an empathetic protagonist, "In My Country" does viably introduce the African principle of "Ubuntu" whereby evil transgressions are absolved rather than revenged. It is a concept that western culture would do well to sit up and pay serious attention to. Sadly, this film is not strong enough to induce such interaction. 

In My Country

Rated R, 114 mins. (C+) (Two Stars)

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