Long-awaited film about Desmond Tutu finally on the big screen!
While it has been two decades since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission concluded, bringing to a close South Africa’s cathartic period of reckoning with its violent history of racial segregation, director Roland Joffé’s new film returns to that time to grapple with the terrible truths of apartheid and its legacy.
Based on Michael Ashton’s play The Archbishop and the Antichrist, The Forgiven is a fictionalized account of Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s efforts as the head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to confront the atrocities of apartheid in an attempt to heal and unite South Africa.
Two-time academy nominee Joffé has gained a reputation for hard-hitting political stories and The Forgiven, like his 1984 cinematic breakthrough The Killing Fields, is cerebral and unflinchingly violent in its depiction of South Africa’s recent political history.
The drama follows Archbishop Desmond Tutu, masterfully portrayed by Forest Whitaker, and his struggle, morally and intellectually, with brutal murderer and member of a former apartheid-era hit squad Piet Blomfeld, played by Eric Bana, over redemption and forgiveness. When Tutu receives a highly articulate letter pleading for clemency, written by the convicted murderer, he becomes intrigued enough to visit the prisoner in his cell; here the two men have a series of intense conversations about guilt and forgiveness.
Academy Award winner Whitaker delivers a finely nuanced performance, conveying Tutu’s formidable inner strength, dignity and compassion. Having previously portrayed a South African in the film Zulu (2013), he already had an informed understanding of South Africa’s history, which he utilizes to add depth and power to his performance as the Archbishop.
Produced by Craig Baumgarten and South African producing partner Zaheer Goodman-Bhyat from Light and Dark Films, the film was shot completely in and around Cape Town, including at one of the world’s most dangerous prison facilities, Pollsmoor Maximum Security Prison. It also boasts strong performances by Jeff Gum, Morné Visser and Thandi Makhubele.
With potent acting, relevant social commentary, adept writing and direction, The Forgiven is a powerful film, and the ultimate testament to the power of forgiveness and finding common ground in our humanity.
The Forgiven was produced by international award-winning feature film and television Production Company Light and Dark Films. The film will be released in cinemas, nationwide, on 5 October 2018, and is distributed by Filmfinity (Pty) Ltd.