Magazine article New Internationalist

Friends

Magazine article New Internationalist

Friends

Article excerpt

Two years ago South African director Elaine Proctor won acclaim - and a British Film Institute award - for her short film On the Wire. This bleak and claustrophobic chamber piece traced the breakdown of the marriage between an Afrikaner soldier and his wife after the terrible revelations about his work activities.

Friends is her first full - length feature. Set in Johannesburg and spanning the decade up to the release of Mandela, it tells the story of three women who share a house together. The friends represent different strands of South African life. Sophie (Kerry Fox) is the white upper - class girl who rebels against her privileged background by joining a militant organization; Aninka (Michele Burgers) is a mild - mannered Afrikaner who buries her head in her archaeological research, while Thoko (Dambisa Kente) is a teacher in the black townships. The testing point for the women comes when Sophie's political affiliations lead her to plant a bomb at Jan Smuts Airport, causing the deaths of a soldier and a cleaner. Sophie begins to fall apart, distancing herself from the friends with whom she cannot share her secret.

Proctor may be forgiven for choosing such an obviously balanced group of characters around which to structure her drama. …

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