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A Dry White Season (1989)

Ben du Toit is a schoolteacher who always has considered himself a man of caring and justice, at least on the individual level. When his gardener's son is brutally beaten up by the police ... See full summary »

Director:

Euzhan Palcy

Writers:

André P. Brink (novel) (as André Brink), Colin Welland (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Donald Sutherland ... Ben
Janet Suzman ... Susan
Zakes Mokae ... Stanley
Jürgen Prochnow ... Captain Stolz (as Jurgen Prochnow)
Susan Sarandon ... Melanie
Marlon Brando ... McKenzie
Winston Ntshona ... Gordon
Thoko Ntshinga Thoko Ntshinga ... Emily
Leonard Maguire Leonard Maguire ... Bruwer
Gerard Thoolen ... Col. Viljoen
Susannah Harker ... Suzette
Andrew Whaley Andrew Whaley ... Chris
Rowen Elmes Rowen Elmes ... Johan
Stella Dickin Stella Dickin ... Susan's Mother
David de Keyser David de Keyser ... Susan's Father (as David De Keyser)
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Storyline

Ben du Toit is a schoolteacher who always has considered himself a man of caring and justice, at least on the individual level. When his gardener's son is brutally beaten up by the police at a demonstration by black school children, he gradually begins to realize his own society is built on a pillar of injustice and exploitation. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 November 1989 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

Assassinato Sob Custódia See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$3,766,879
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Producer David Puttnam was originally attached to the film in a producing capacity when the picture was in development at the Warner Bros. studio, who had been associated with Puttnam's Cal (1984), The Mission (1986) and The Killing Fields (1984). Screenwriter Colin Welland had previously scripted Chariots of Fire (1981) for Puttnam, who did not end up producing A Dry White Season (1989). See more »

Goofs

When the camera pulls away from the court house (Harare City Hall) a bus drives past displaying an advertisement for Balkan Bulgarian Airlines, which flew to Zimbabwe, but not to South Africa under apartheid during the 1970s. See more »

Quotes

Ian McKenzie: I will take your case if only to make it abundantly clear how justice in South Africa is misapplied when it comes to the question of race.
See more »


Soundtracks

UNOMATHEMBA
Written by Joseph Shabalala
Performed by Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records
Produced by Danny Lawson for Night After Night Ltd.
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User Reviews

 
Gripping tale about social injustice
5 May 2005 | by jotix100See all my reviews

Apartheid gripped South Africa for many years. One heard the news with total disbelief, as things got worse in that country. Euzhan Palcy has brought Andre Brink's novel to the screen making a statement along the way about what was wrong in South Africa under the brutal repression of those that dared to make a stand.

The carnage one sees in the film is hard to take. Especially, since one occurrence is directed to innocent children who are trying to make a stand about education. At the time, the white establishment labeled communist all those that dared oppose the ruling class. It's ironic that after things got to be democratic, those same rebels didn't turn the country into a communist state.

The story centers on a white teacher that suddenly awakens to what is happening around him. His involvement comes through his gardener, Gordon, who is a decent man. When the gardener's son is arrested, Gordon turns to Ben for help. That will mark the beginning of Ben's passive attitude toward apartheid. By trying to help, Ben will be a marked man, a traitor to his people, according to even his own family.

Donald Sutherland makes an excellent Ben, the former football star and teacher. We watch him as he gets deeply involved in his quest for justice in a land where it was unknown. Zakes Mokae, an immensely talented actor of stage and screen, plays Stanley the man that serves as a link between the struggling faction and Ben. Jurgen Prochnow plays the sadistic Capt. Stolz conveying all the cruelty and arrogance of the man. Janet Suzman is Ben's wife, a woman who doesn't want to see any changes in her cushy life.

The surprise of the film is the appearance of Marlon Brando in a small, but pivotal role of Ian McKenzie, a barrister that brings the case to a court of justice, but it's defeated by the system. Mr. Brando made a tremendous contribution to the film.

Ms. Palcy's film is a reminder of the injustice perpetuated in South Africa under the apartheid rule.


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