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In My Country

32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In 1996, the South African government established the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate abuses of human rights under apartheid. These hearings would serve as a forum for those accused of murder and torture to be confronted by their victims and, by admitting their guilt, be grantedamnesty under Ubuntu, the native custom of forgiveness. Covering the sessions are Langston Whitfield (Academy Award(r)-nominee Samuel L. Jackson, Best Supporting Actor, Pulp Fiction, 1994) and Anna Malan (Academy Award(r)-winner Juliette Binoche, Best Supporting Actress, The English Patient, 1996), two journalists who, through their reporting, inspire both the world and themselves with these extraordinary stories about courage, compassion and the redeeming power of love. Directed by Academy Award(r)-nominee John Boorman (Deliverance, 1972; Hope and Glory, 1987). Based on the book "Country of My Skull" by Antjie Krog.

Released in the wake of Hotel Rwanda, In My Country tackles another grim chapter in African history. Set during South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the film is adapted from Antjie Krog's Country of My Skull. Oscar-winner Juliette Binoche (The English Patient) is Anna, an Africaans poet and broadcaster, and Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction) is Langston, a Chicago reporter. The two meet during the hearings and take an instant dislike to each other. In due time, however, they come to an understanding and embark on a tentative affair, despite Anna's faith in the hearings and Langston's doubts. John Boorman, whose previous features were the underrated Beyond Rangoon and The Tailor of Panama, coaxes sensitive performances from his leads and sheds welcome light on an important event, but In My Country never catches fire. Boorman regular Brendan Gleeson (The General), however, makes a memorable appearance as a sadistic police chief. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Special Features

  • Commentary by director John Boorman
  • Deleted scenes with optional commentary
  • Interviews with the cast, director, and producers

Product Details

  • Actors: Samuel Jackson, Menzi Ngubane, Juliette Binoche, Brendan Gleeson
  • Directors: John Boorman
  • Producers: John Boorman, Robert Chartoff, Mike Medavoy, Kieran Corrigan, Lynn Hendee
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Digital Sound, Closed-captioned, Dolby, Anamorphic, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: July 5, 2005
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009I8QGI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,810 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "In My Country" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Linda Linguvic HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on September 16, 2005
Format: DVD
This 2004 film is also called "In The Country of My Skull" and must have had a very short run at the box office because I never heard of it. And yet it stars Samuel L. Jackson and Juliette Binoche, both excellent actors. Their roles demand nuanced performances in this story set at The Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa after Apartheid ended. In order to keep the country from upheavals and violence, these hearings allowed people to appear before a public tribunal, confess exactly what they did, convince the tribunal that they were just following orders, and then make a public apology. These hearings were heart wrenching for all, but allowed redemption. Most of the people were forgiven or given light jail sentences. But then there were some whose crimes went way beyond the limits that could be pardoned.

The film, based on a memoir by a journalist, is fictionalized for greater impact. Samuel L. Jackson is cast as a Washington Post reporter who is covering the story. Juliette Binoche is an Afrikaner who does a local daily radio broadcast. Both are married. And yet a strong bond forms between these too, leading to a romance. Their roles call for emotional complexity. And both of them succeed magnificently, seeming to enter the very core of their characters as they meet both victims and victimizers and grasp the reality of the horror. I applaud their performances and I applaud the screenplay. I was totally involved and also very sad. The film presented some upsetting truths. And, as when any truth is probed this deeply, there are no easy answers.

I didn't cry real tears. It was not that kind of film. Rather I felt it deep inside and now, several weeks later, I am still thinking about it.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Wendell on November 22, 2005
Format: DVD
I'm one who enjoyed this movie. I haven't always been a John Boorman fan. He's sort of hit or miss with me, and it often feels that his politics highjacks the story and pushes the characters in certain ways. I didn't feel this way about this film, though.

I did find the Truth and Reconcilation testimonies to be convincing and heartrending. They give you enough of the horrors of Apartheid without making the entire movie nothing more than a catalog of crimes.

I like the relationships between Binoche's and Jackson's characters. It felt real to me, and interesting that Boorman deals maturely with infidelity. He doesn't make an overt issue of it, but we as viewers certainly know that both these characters are married with children. Still, however, they're put together and surrounded by such emotive material that it makes sense they should be drawn together.

Don't go away from some of the earlier reviews thinking this is a feel-good movie in which whites come off looking good. They don't. Binoche's character is an activist, yes, but her father's a racist and her brother, it turns out, was involved in incredible atrocities. This movie is far from simple. Just the opposite, it does honor to a complex issue that taints all the players.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Jana L.Perskie HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 15, 2005
Format: DVD
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, (TRC), was a court-like body assembled in South Africa after Apartheid ended. The mandate of the commission, established under Nelson Mandela, was "to bear witness to, record and in some cases grant amnesty to the perpetrators of crimes relating to human rights violations, reparation and rehabilitation." Anybody who felt they had been a victim of violence could come forward and be heard before the Commission. Perpetrators of violence could also give testimony and request Amnesty from prosecution. The hearings made headlines around the world and many sessions were televised on national TV.

John Boorman's political drama is set in South Africa in 1996, at the beginning of the TRC hearings. The film includes testimony which graphically describes the brutal atrocities perpetrated under the apartheid system and is extremely moving. The hearings were designed to bring a measure of domestic peace to South Africa following decades of violent, inhumane and repressive government. I believe that Boorman's goal here is to help westerners understand the African concept of "ubuntu," or justice that involves confession, forgiveness and a restoration of amity rather than mere retribution. And he does succeed on many levels. However, the movie has some major flaws which seriously distract from the inspirational story.

Anna Malan, (Juliette Binoche), a progressive Afrikaaner journalist and poet, is assigned to cover the hearings for a local radio station in Cape Town. Her commentary will also be broadcast on National Public Radio in the United States. Anna comes from a wealthy South African family with large landholdings. They have farmed here for generations.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By G. Jennings on July 30, 2005
Format: DVD
This film is very well portrayed. I haven't read "Country of My Skull" to compare how truthful the movie is to Antjie Krog's depiction, but both Jackson and Binoche have done a superb job representing their characters. Director John Boorman stated that Samuel Jackson had to play a much more emotional role in this film than what he was used to. This becomes evident in his character. We're used to Samuel Jackson playing the cool walking, sharp-talking bad-ass. In this role, a vulnerable more complex side comes out. Binoche was on target, as usual, and seemless with her South African accent. I thought this film was beautifully done with the right emotional balance of forgiveness, anger, shame and happiness. Too much melodrama and graphic imagery would have pushed the film over the edge and become cliche. It's good for American audiences to break away from the usual Hollywood formula and see other angles of cinema.

The South African actors depicted in the movie are just as lively as the South Africans I met a couple years ago in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Boorman has done a fabulous job of capturing the South African spirit of both whites and blacks. Both have a strong love of their country despite their strained past. The true spirit of Unbutu (forgiveness) is ever present.

I, too, wondered why the part of Anna was not given to native South African actress Charlize Theron, but it's director's preogrative. Perhaps her experiences of growing up in an Apartheid society would have inadvertently biased the film from the tone of the movie the director intended to portray or maybe it was because Juliette Binoche was similar in appearance to Antjie Krog. Boorman did state it was Binoche's right emotional range in her acting that was suited for the role.
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