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Academy Award(R)-winning star Whoopi Goldberg (Best Supporting Actress -- GHOST) lights up the screen in her latest hit -- the exhilarating and entertaining SARAFINA! In a world where truth is forbidden, an inspiring teacher (Whoopi Goldberg) dares to instill in her students lessons not found in schoolbooks. In doing so, she challenges their freedom and hers. Applauded by critics and audiences everywhere, this upbeat and powerful story promises to stir your emotions and make your spirits soar!
- Aspect Ratio : 1.85:1
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- MPAA rating : s_medPG13 PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
- Product Dimensions : 7.5 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches; 3.2 Ounces
- Director : Darrell Roodt
- Media Format : Closed-captioned, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
- Run time : 1 hour and 57 minutes
- Release date : June 4, 2002
- Actors : Whoopi Goldberg, Leleti Khumalo, Miriam Makeba, John Kani, Dumisani Dlamini
- Producers : Anant Singh, David M. Thompson, Helena Spring, Kirk D'Amico, Sanjeev Singh
- Language : Unqualified
- Studio : Walt Disney Video
- ASIN : B00006472P
- Writers : Mbongeni Ngema, William Nicholson
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: #15,374 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Making a movie about this subject (Segregation and Oppression of aboriginal first black nations) has been necessary and important just to remember what had happened.
The famous musical Sarafina! tells the story of the young girl Sarafina, that experienced how the former white government of South Africa tried to destroy the identiity of black people. The black people had been forced to leave their homes, had to live in "townships", a kind of reservation. The school system provided a better education for the white people, the black people were just tought the basic knowledges of reading, writing and calculating.. but nothing about their own history and their own culture.
Sarafinas teacher (played by Whoopy Goldberg) teaches history in her own way .. with humour and in subversive manner. The children love her..
The storm arose, when the government wanted the students to be tought only in English and Afrikaans, which meant they were not only discriminating black people but also were going to steal their idententy by stealing their language.
(same happened to the first nations in America, the Aborigenes in Australia).
The movie starts with a scene of vandalism against the school. But unfotunately the political backgound is not explained. That's the big difference to the musical that was performed on a world wide tour and was also played on broadway: on stage the musical takes its time to explain the protagonists' feelings, their reasons, their situation; the movie doesn't do it unfortunately.. moreover the captation of the beloved teacher becomes the only reason for the student's protest ( and its finally violent riots) and doesn't explain the political background properly.(what a pity!) That's why I gave only four stars.
What you see and feel is the joy of life no matter how hard life becomes. The music is going right through your heart. The original cast with its beautiful voices plays also most of the roles in the movie
It is a musical, but the musical bits are not overwhelming and do not take away from the story.
In fact they add great depth and meaning to the story
Although Whoopi Goldberg has top billing in the movie, the other cast members keep up and a couple of them supercede her star performance
If you have to add a movie to your bucket list, this is the one.
And I learned the songs by heart now because I watched so many times :)
Top reviews from other countries
Perhaps as disturbing as anything else for me, since it eloquently mirrored much of the miscalculated mood of the film itself, was the blurb on the back of the DVD box: "Amazingly talented Academy Award-winning star Whoopi Goldberg ... lights up the screen in her latest hit--the exhilarating and entertaining Sarafina!" Yes, Whoopi Goldberg is a hugely talented actress, but why choose an American actress who cannot even muster a South African accent when there are so many equally talented black South African actresses who could have played the role? And why "her latest hit"? a "hit", for heaven's sake! and yes, indeed it was, but was that really the point of the film? another "hit" for a foreign actress? "Lights up the screen"? yes, in a way that is surreally far remote from the revolutionary seriousness and sufferings of the black South African teachers I know. What lit up the screen for me was rather the burning of the quisling Sabela. And "exhilarating and entertaining"? yes, sadly I'm afraid it truly was: it oozed with entertainment, obfuscating the brutalised lives to which, in reality, the children were condemned.
So why does all this matter? It matters because, in popular consciousness, the film enters the heterogeneous cannon of documents telling the story of one of the most appalling crimes in human history. Imagine, by way of comparison, an all-singing all-dancing musical on Auschwitz, a top hat and tails tap-dance through the events of 9/11, a jolly sing-along in Guantanamo, a Sabra and Chatila soft shoe shuffle. Is my point coming across? While I acknowledge that as initially (1988) a Broadway musical it may have brought awareness of the evils of apartheid to a New York audience, to deliver on celluloid what is in effect a sanitised African version of The Sound Of Music, just another "hit" for an American actress, is to betray those who suffered throughout the struggles. If you must watch this film, first go visit the Apartheid Museum and Hector Pieterson Museum in Soweto to glean a bit of context.