In My Country
is a 2004 English-language film directed by John Boorman
John Boorman is a British filmmaker who is a long time resident of Ireland and is best known for his feature films such as Point Blank, Deliverance, Zardoz, Excalibur, The Emerald Forest, Hope and Glory, The General and The Tailor of Panama.-Early life:Boorman was born in Shepperton, Surrey,...
, starring Samuel L. Jackson
Samuel Leroy Jackson is an American film and television actor and film producer. After becoming involved with the Civil Rights Movement, he moved on to acting in theater at Morehouse College, and then films. He had several small roles such as in the film Goodfellas before meeting his mentor,...
and Juliette Binoche
Juliette Binoche is a French actress, artist and dancer. She has appeared in more than 40 feature films, been recipient of numerous international accolades, is a published author and has appeared on stage across the world. Coming from an artistic background, she began taking acting lessons during...
. The screenplay, written by Ann Peacock, was based on Antjie Krog
Antjie Krog, born October 23, 1952 in Kroonstad, Orange Free State, South Africa, is a prominent South African poet, academic and writer. In 2004 she joined the Arts faculty of the University of the Western Cape.- Early life :...
's memoir Country of My Skull
Country of My Skull is a 1998 nonfiction book by Antjie Krog primarily about the findings of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission...
A special screening of the film was held for Nelson Mandela
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, and was the first South African president to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. Before his presidency, Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist, and the leader of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing...
in December 2003 in the presence of John Boorman, Juliette Binoche and Robert Chartoff. Mandela liked the film and provided producers with a quote for promotion of the film:
- "A beautiful and important film about South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It will engage and influence not only South Africans, but people all over the world concerned with the great questions of human reconciliation, forgiveness, and tolerance."
The movie deals with the story of Afrikaner
Afrikaners are an ethnic group in Southern Africa descended from almost equal numbers of Dutch, French and German settlers whose native tongue is Afrikaans: a Germanic language which derives primarily from 17th century Dutch, and a variety of other languages.-Related ethno-linguistic groups:The...
poet Anna Malan (Binoche) and an American journalist, Langston Whitfield (Jackson), sent to South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...
to report about the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings.
Filming took place in and around Cape Town
Cape Town is the second-most populous city in South Africa, and the provincial capital and primate city of the Western Cape. As the seat of the National Parliament, it is also the legislative capital of the country. It forms part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality...
and the Cape Peninsula. Capetonians and travellers familiar with the city will recognise several well known land-marks co-opted to represent scenes within the film:
- The South African Museum, The Gardens, Cape Town
- Tuin Huis
- Table Mountain
- The Countryside and surrounds of Paarl
Paarl is a town with 191,013 inhabitants in the Western Cape province of South Africa. Its the third oldest European settlement in the Republic of South Africa and the largest town in the Cape Winelands. Due to the growth of the Mbekweni township, it is now a de facto urban unit with Wellington...
- The Mt. Nelson Hotel
- Locations in Stellenbosch.
The film made heavy use of distinguished South African actors and actresses of all backgrounds for both bit and prominent parts. In addition, authenticity was greater than many other productions both before and since through the use of actual furniture, fixtures, motor vehicles and many other touches to ensured that The Country of My Skull
is a remarkably South African production.
Of further note is that the film spanned in virtually the entire country's fund of technical talent at the SABC and other film studios.
While the film was thought to have its "heart and politics in the right place" it was otherwise panned by the Washington Post
as a "formula romance", in which Binoche fails at the Afrikaans accent and Jackson's character, Langston Whitfield
, lacks credibility as a Post reporter . It received much criticism for the inclusion of a love affair and its depiction of black South Africans.