A Dry White Season | Movie Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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A Dry White Season

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First-rate agitprop about the ruthlessness with which South African apartheid is maintained, directed by Euzhan Palcy (Sugar Cane Alley), and adapted from Andre Brink's novel by Palcy and Colin Welland. More powerful than either Cry Freedom or A World Apart, particularly in its depiction of violence, this film is like those predecessors in concentrating on the situation of white rebels in South Africa, but its depiction of black oppression goes substantially further. Donald Sutherland stars as a liberal but blinkered schoolteacher who gradually becomes radicalized after a series of brutal events affecting his gardener that eventually split his family apart. Susan Sarandon plays a sympathetic journalist, and Marlon Brando, in a juicy comeback cameo that evokes Orson Welles's Clarence Darrow impersonation in Compulsion, plays an antiapartheid lawyer. The relentless plot is effectively set up and expertly pursued, and Hugh Masekela makes some striking contributions to Dave Grusin's musical score. With Janet Suzman, Jurgen Prochnow, and Zakes Mokae. (Oakbrook, 900 N. Michigan, Old Orchard)

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