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SA'S DEMOCRACY FILMS TO CANNES (article first published : 2004-05-22)

Leading South African film producer, Anant Singh announced today that two of the most profound films produced by him will be screening in the South African Retrospective in Cannes this year. The films, Sarafina! and Cry, The Beloved Country which were produced at critical junctures in South Africa's liberation history is part of a programme in Cannes that celebrates South Africa's Ten Years Of Democracy.

Sarafina! starring Whoopi Goldberg and Leleti Khumalo was made shortly after the release of Nelson Mandela from prison. The film follows a young girl, Sarafina (Leleti Khumalo), who, like other young students, adopted a campaign of resistance against the police presence in their schools. She imagines the support of her role-model, Nelson Mandela, who is her inspiration to survive. Sarafina finds an ally in her teacher, Mary Masombuka (Whoopi Goldberg) who supports the students in their protest against the police presence and who is ultimately arrested for her support of the students.

The film rights to Cry, The Beloved Country which stars James Earl Jones and Richard Harris is based on the classic novel by Alan Paton, was acquired by Anant Singh prior to South Africa becoming a democracy, however, he waited until after the country attained democracy to produce the film.

Cry, The Beloved Country follows pastor, Stephen Khumalo's (James Earl Jones) journey from the quiet Natal province to a modern, sinister Johannesburg in search of his son, his sister, and his brother - all of whom had disappeared into an urban quagmire of crime, sin and political activism. By tragic circumstances, Khumalo's son, Absalom, had accidentally murdered the social reformer son of leading Natal farmer, James Jarvis (Richard Harris), and the story plots the reconciliation of these two men who have each lost a son to the violence of South Africa.

"We are delighted to be presenting Sarafina! and Cry, The Beloved Country in Cannes this year," said Anant Singh. “They are the most appropriate films to be celebrating South Africa's Ten Years of Democracy. Sarafina! pays tribute to Nelson Mandela and his efforts to bring democracy to South Africa while, Cry, The Beloved Country tells the story of reconciliation between two fathers, one black and the other white, illustrating the wider miracle of reconciliation in South Africa which has contributed to a successful democracy which is now ten years old."




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