The Forgiven - When Desmond Tutu met racist killer Piet Bloomfield
It’s a gripping story. What's more it's true. South Africa is emerging battered, bloodied but unbowed from 43 years of brutal Apartheid oppression. Racial divisions have torn the country apart.
State sanctioned segregation, discrimination and brutality have been meted out to black ethnic South Africans, many of whom are poor and disadvantaged.
Inevitably there is still simmering hatred and deep-rooted resentment. How can the country move on and find some semblance of a civilised multi-cultural future?
Director Roland Joffé’s new film The Forgiven explores exactly this seemingly insurmountable problem, focusing on the story of how peace and social justice campaigner Archbishop Desmond Tutu met with race-hate murderer Piet Bloomfeld (Eric Bana) seeking redemption.
Tutu has one big problem. The and Reconciliation Commission of which he is chairman has offered amnesty and forgiveness for those who confess their racial crimes. Bloomfield’s crimes are just too serious to pardon.
What follows is the extraordinary discussions between this powerful and evil white supremacist and the calm and reasonable Tutu, unshakeable in his belief that goodness must prevail.
The movie, first flagged up on this blog a couple of years ago when it was still in development, has just been released and received its inaugural screenings as part of the 2017 BFI Film Festival in London.
With Forest Whitaker playing Tutu and Eric Bona playing Bloomfield, it has received much praise.
“An emotional masterpiece” said reviewer Guy Lambert who also described it as “a stunning piece of film that shows a visionary perspective on how to tell stories that demand a platform.”
That last comment of course is a tribute to writer Michael Ashton who adapted the script from his own stage play The Archbishop and the Antichrist.
Meanwhile both Whitaker and Bona are praised for “outstanding performances of the highest calibre.” See this film if you possibly can.