Oliver Hermanus follows The Endless River (LFF 2015) with a haunting examination of the violent persecution of gay men under Apartheid.
Dir Oliver Hermanus
Prod Eric Abraham, Jack Sidey
Scr Oliver Hermanus, Jack Sidey
With Kai Luke Brummer, Ryan de Villiers, Matthew Vey
Sales Portobello Film Sales
With partial English subtitles (some scenes are not in the English language)
1981, South Africa. Nicholas (Kai Luke Brummer) has long known he is different, that there is something shameful and unacceptable in him that must stay hidden, denied even. But South Africa’s minority government are embroiled in conflict at the Angolian border and all white young men over 16 must serve two years of compulsory military service to defend the Apartheid regime and its culture of toxic racist machismo. The ‘black danger’ is the real and present threat; what is wrong with Nicholas and others like him can be rooted out, treated and cured like a cancer. But just when fear pushes Nicholas to accept unspeakable horrors in the hopes of staying invisible, a tender relationship with another recruit becomes as dangerous for them both as any enemy fire. With his fourth feature, Hermanus (Beauty, Shirley Adams) continues to delve into the casualties of his country’s dark past and he delivers a film of great poise and complexity – one that gets deep inside Nicholas’ head. Brummer gives an extraordinarily nuanced physical performance, emphasised by Braam du Toit’s aching and tense score, which underpins his constant anxiety – the threat of discovery.