Langston Whitfield is a Washington Post journalist. His editor provocatively sends him to South Africa to cover the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings, in which the perpetrators of murder and torture on both sides during Apartheid are invited to come forward and confront their victims. By telling the unvarnished truth and expressing contrition, they may be granted amnesty. Can the deep wounds of Apartheid be healed through reconciliation? Langston is deeply skeptical. He tracks down Col. De Jager, the most notorious torturer in the SA Police and tries to penetrate the mind of a monster, an experience that obliges him to confront his own demons. Anna Malan is an Afrikaans poet who is covering the hearings for radio. As a white South African she is shattered by the accounts of the cruelty and depravity committed by her fellow countrymen. Anna and Langston must both question their sense of identity. Where do they each belong? How responsible are they for what is done in the name of their respective countries? The moving testimony of the victims affects them deeply. In different ways they are both estranged from their families, and their shared experience draws them ever closer to each other. It is a story charting the unfathomable depths of human cruelty and the redeeming power of forgiveness and love. —IMDb
Boorman was born in Shepperton, Surrey, England, the son of Ivy (née Chapman) and George Boorman. He was educated at the Salesian School in Chertsey, Surrey, even though his family was not Roman Catholic.
Boorman first began by working as a drycleaner and journalist in the late 1950s and then he moved into TV documentary filmmaking, eventually becoming the head of the BBC’s Bristol-based Documentary Unit in 1962.
Capturing the interest of producer David Deutsch, he was offered the chance to direct a film aimed at repeating the success of A Hard Day’s Night (directed by Richard Lester in 1964): Catch Us If You Can (1965) is about competing pop group Dave Clark Five. While not as successful commercially as Lester’s film, it smoothed Boorman’s way into the film industry. Boorman was drawn to Hollywood for the opportunity to make larger-scale cinema and in Point Blank (1967), a powerful interpretation of a Richard Stark novel, brought a stranger’s vision… read more
Despite the universally awful reviews, and despite the fact that this is surprisingly naive from a director as experienced as Boorman, I quite liked many aspects of this. While it simplifies and is simplistic, it is a film of tempered emotion and dignity (albeit from the white man's pov). It's so rare that a film tries to capture such a moment of positivity. I just wish they hadn't neutred the title