From director Connie Field (director of some of the most exciting, politically potent documentaries of our time – The Life And Times Of Rosie The Riveter and Freedom On My Mind) comes a film we first told you about in early 2010, when it was set to screen at the Film Forum here in NYC – Have You Heard From Johannesburg.
The epic 7-part 8+ hour film – made over a period of more than 10 years, filming throughout the world – is considered nothing less than the definitive cinematic history of the worldwide effort to destroy South African apartheid, standing as the final word on how a violent, racist, intractable government was destroyed by the concerted efforts of men and women working on multiple fronts, both inside and outside South Africa, for more than 30 years.
The end product is anything but academic; It’s a lively, tension-filled, heart-rending and ultimately thrilling journey of a film, and those in the UK will get an opportunity to see it (although not in its original form and length) when BBC4 begins broadcasting it, next week Tuesday, January 24th, at 10PM, with the second half shown the following night, on Wednesday the 25th.
I say that it’s not in its original length because BBC4 trimmed it down to about 5 hours; so you’ll be watching a gutted version.
The award-winning film is available on DVD, but ONLY for purchase via the distribution company’s website; and it’s not cheap; definitely not average DVD prices unfortunately. $175! ($180 for those outside the USA). BUT, you’ll get the full 7-disc set with lots of extras.
Those in the USA can also watch an even more gutted 2-part version of the film on PBS’ website HERE.
The original 7-part 8 1/2-hour film was broken down as follows:
– ROAD TO RESISTANCE 65 minutes. As the U.N. adopts the Declaration of Human Rights, South Africa heads in the opposite direction and implements apartheid. A mass movement is born, then crushed, and Nelson Mandela is jailed for life.
– HELL OF A JOB 58 minutes The future of the movement is on the shoulders of Oliver Tambo, who escapes into exile and begins a 30-year journey to engage the world in the struggle to bring democracy to South Africa.
– THE NEW GENERATION 58 minutes Youth in South Africa and around the world are next to join the growing movement against apartheid, and the brutal suppression of a youth uprising in Soweto galvanizes public support for sanctions against South Africa.
– FAIR PLAY 96 minutes Athletes and activists around the world hit white South Africa where it hurts: on the playing field. The sports boycott pushes apartheid South Africa out of international sporting competitions, isolating it in an area of passionate importance.
– FROM SELMA TO SOWETO 89 minutes African Americans alter U.S. foreign policy for the first time in history, successfully pressuring the U.S. to impose sanctions and politically isolate Pretoria.
– THE BOTTOM LINE 86 minutes International grassroots campaigns against Polaroid, Shell, Barclay’s, General Motors and others doing business in South Africa economically isolate the apartheid regime and become the first successful effort to use economic pressure to help bring down a government.
– FREE AT LAST 78 minutes An uprising in South Africa becomes the final blow in the cumulative world effort to topple apartheid. Nelson Mandela becomes a household name as the campaign to free him ignites a worldwide crusade.
A preview follows below: