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Screening TortureMedia Representations of State Terror and Political Domination$
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Fabiola Fernandez Salek

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780231153591

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231153591.001.0001

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“Accorded a Place in the Design”

“Accorded a Place in the Design”

Torture in Postapartheid Cinema

Chapter:
(p.167) 8 “Accorded a Place in the Design”
Source:
Screening Torture
Author(s):

Elizabeth Swanson Goldberg

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231153591.003.0009

This chapter examines two South African films, Forgiveness and Zulu Love Letter, suggesting that both find fault with South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), particularly its emphasis on the forgiveness of torture. It considers the place of TRC in the process of considering the representation of torture in postapartheid South African cultural production, as well as in U.S. movies made after the era of protest/solidarity films such as Cry Freedom (1987), Cry the Beloved Country (1952, 1995), A Dry White Season (1989), and Sarafina (1992). It sees TRC as an obstacle to the process of remaking South African society after the devastation wrought by apartheid and by colonialism before it. The chapter criticizes Forgiveness but praises Zulu Love Letter for its engagement with the history of apartheid and the consequences of the antiapartheid struggle on familial and communal relationships, along with its depiction of traumatized individuals. It also analyzes representations of torture in postapartheid film by discussing J. M. Coetzee’s essay “Into the Dark Chamber: The Writer and the South African State”.

Keywords:   film, Forgiveness, Zulu Love Letter, South Africa, Truth and Reconciliation Commission, torture, apartheid, colonialism, J. M. Coetzee

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