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.
Continue reading: Long Night's Journey Into Day Review