Starring: Sam Neill, Sophie Okonedo, Alice Krige
The thought of a non-South African director bringing an important apartheid-era story to the big screen is enough to put most Saffas off their braais.
However, unlike many filmmakers from outside the Republic, Anthony Fabian captures the complexities of racial segregation in Skin.
Based on true events, the film focuses on the remarkable life of Sandra Laing (Okonedo), a woman with black features born to a white Afrikaans couple in the 1950s.
Because of her appearance, she is expelled from an all-white boarding school and, to the concern of parents Abraham (Neill) and Sannie (Krige), is reclassified as ‘coloured’.
Shunned by racist whites, Sandra elopes with a black man – driving a wedge between her and her parents. With all the leads putting in striking performances, Skin effectively brings home the horrible absurdity of apartheid and the National Party’s obsession with skin colour.
Fabian lets the story tell itself, refraining from adding needless melodrama to a film that illustrates how, in the old South Africa, truth was stranger and sadder than fiction.
Good for: A reminder of the horrors of apartheid.
PIERRE DE VILLIERS