Long Night's Journey into Day

"Excellent"

Long Night's Journey into Day Review


Aside from a keen enjoyment of the Special AKA song, "Free Nelson Mandela," I've never known much about South African apartheid. And, in my own defense, I don't think I'm entirely to blame for this. Sure, I've seen periodic newscasts over the course of my lifetime. Some kids in my high school used to like wearing pins denouncing apartheid and, as a general sort of thing, I opposed it too. But beyond that, it hasn't figured very strongly into my social consciousness. At least not as much as, say, the meanings of all those little emoticons people use to spice up their otherwise boring e-mails.

Frances Reid and Deborah Hoffman have made up for this, to a degree, with Long Night's Journey into Day. This potent 95-minute documentary visits the ongoing proceedings of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), by which that nation administers amnesty for the horrors of apartheid crimes on a case-by-case basis. Packed start to finish with heart-wrenching interviews and bleak, sometimes gruesome, unedited footage of murdered bodies bleeding in the streets, Reid and Hoffman's film is a long-overdue eye-opener.

The picture examines four cases brought before the TRC; two in which whites were victimized, and two in which the victims were black. The sense of balance here is largely superficial because it must always be remembered that the blacks were victims before they were murdered, putting the white killers at a distinct disadvantage before the commission. Ironically, however, the film points out that the vast majority of amnesty applicants are black.

Among the subjects visited in this documentary are the parents of slain American Fullbright scholar Amy Biehl, as well as one of her killers, Mongezi Manqina, and his family. A South African security forces officer seeks amnesty for his part in the killing of the "Cradock 4," a group of black South Africans slain for alleged conspiracies against the state. And Robert McBride, another high profile figure in the later days of apartheid, faces the sister of one of his bombing victims before the commission.

What's most striking about these people is the mutual compassion they have for each other. Each of them, perpetrators and victims' families alike, seems genuinely sorrowful for the condition they share. It is refreshing and promising to see the hopeful spirit with which these people confront one another.

While it's obvious that this is only a microscopic view of the larger reconciliation process, the candid eyes of Hoffman and Reid reveal a larger picture of the South African predicament. And, like the reconciliation process itself, it is both painful and rewarding to see.

Journey on.



Long Night's Journey into Day

Facts and Figures

Run time: 94 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 20th December 2001

Distributed by: Iris Films/Cinemax Reel Life

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Fresh: 14 Rotten: 1

IMDB: 7.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Deborah Hoffmann,

Producer:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.