A World Apart


1h 53m 1988
A World Apart

Brief Synopsis

A white girl in South Africa experiences Apartheid through the eyes of her activist mother and black housekeeper.

Film Details

Also Known As
World Apart
MPAA Rating
PG-13
Genre
Drama
Biography
Period
Release Date
1988
Production Company
Atlantic; British Screen Finance; Completion Bond Company Inc; Filmfour International; Sales Company; Working Title Films
Distribution Company
Atlantic Releasing Corporation; Concorde Filmverleih Gmbh; Palace Pictures; Ugc; Ugc International
Location
Zimbabwe

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 53m

Synopsis

Based on a true story, political drama set in 1963 Johannesburg, about an anti-apartheid activist and her 13-year-old daughter.

Crew

Ron Anscombe

Other

David Appleby

Stills

Tim Bevan

Executive Producer

Peter Biziou

Director Of Photography

Peter Biziou

Dp/Cinematographer

Peter Bloor

Gaffer

Graham Bradstreet

Executive Producer

Jeremy Brickhill

Assistant (To Chris Menges)

Karen Brooks

Production Buyer

Elaine Carew

Makeup

Jim Carlisle

Construction Manager

Peter Casey

Generator Operator

Martin Cook

Production Accountant

Simon Cowper

2nd Assistant Editor

Nora Dunfee

Dialogue Director

Nora Dunfee

Dialect Director

Nic Ede

Costume Designer

Penny Eyles

Script Supervisor

Eliah Fero

Account Assistant

Susie Figgis

Casting

Paul Fisher

Transportation Manager

John R Foster

Other

Judy Freeman

Sound Recording Mixer

Nic Gaster

Editor

Bill Geddes

Grip

Craig Haagensen

2nd Assistant Camera

Caroline Hewitt

Production Manager

Mark Holding

Sound Assistant

Marianne Jacobs

Other

Rory Kilalea

Location Manager

Isaac Mabhikwa

3rd Assistant Director

Jocelyne May

Other

Laurie Mcdowell

Sound Editor Assistant (Dubbing)

Alan Mcpherson

Bestboy

Stewart Meachem

Wardrobe Master

Cont Mhlanga

Other

Fiona Morham

Assistant (To Producer)

Brian Morris

Production Designer

Mike Philips

Art Direction

Michael Phillips

Art Director

Rex Phillips

Boom Operator

Mike Proudfoot

Camera Assistant

Sarah Radclyffe

Producer

Dave Reilly

Property Master

Rupert Ryle-hodges

2nd Assistant Director (Crowd)

Sue Sheldon

Production Coordinator

Simon Shumba

Casting (Extras)

Joyce Sikakane

Technical Advisor

Shawn Slovo

Associate Producer

Shawn Slovo

Screenwriter

Anne Sopel

1st Assistant Editor

Maureen Stephenson

Makeup

Suzi Stokes

Wardrobe Supervisor

Hugh Strain

Sound Rerecording Mixer

Chris Thompson

2nd Assistant Director

Guy Travers

1st Assistant Director

Carine Tredgold

Art Direction Assistant

Budge Tremlett

Sound Editor (Dubbing)

Clarissa Troop

Account Assistant

Andrew Whaley

Casting (Extras)

Jason Wrenn

Other

Hans Zimmer

Music

Film Details

Also Known As
World Apart
MPAA Rating
PG-13
Genre
Drama
Biography
Period
Release Date
1988
Production Company
Atlantic; British Screen Finance; Completion Bond Company Inc; Filmfour International; Sales Company; Working Title Films
Distribution Company
Atlantic Releasing Corporation; Concorde Filmverleih Gmbh; Palace Pictures; Ugc; Ugc International
Location
Zimbabwe

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 53m

Articles

A World Apart


A co-production between Britain and Zimbabwe and filmed entirely on location in the Republic of Zimbabwe, A World Apart (1988) is the story of real life anti-Apartheid protester Ruth First (renamed Diana Roth for the film) as told by her daughter, screenwriter Shawn Slovo. While the events focus on her mother's political activities and her time in prison, the film is just as much about her own growing awareness of the world around her. It's both political and personal, the story of an ideal and the personal responsibility to fight for that ideal.

Awareness of South African apartheid was growing in the West in the late 1980s. In 1986, Steve Van Zandt organized "Artists United Against Apartheid," a group of musicians from across the musical spectrum that refused to perform in the racially segregated country and brought the issue public through a politically charged protest song (which was banned in South Africa) and accompanying music video and album. Paul Simon's album Graceland brought the voices and musical styles of black South African musicians to America. Richard Attenborough brought the murder of civil rights leader Steven Biko to the screen (albeit through the story of a white journalist) in 1987 with Cry Freedom and in 1988, the Broadway musical "Sarafina" brought to life the story of the 1976 Soweto student uprisings.

Like Cry Freedom, A World Apart dramatizes the evils of Apartheid and the racist policies of the ruling government through the story of white South Africans, in this case journalist and activist Diana Roth (Barbara Hershey) and her husband Gus (Jeroen Krabbé), who is seen fleeing the country for his safety in the opening scenes. It's the last that his thirteen-year-old daughter (named Molly in the film and played by Jodhi May) sees of him in the film. The time is 1963 and Molly is just old enough to question the appalling treatment of the country's black citizens by the whites. The setting also resonates with American history: the civil rights struggle in the American south was intensifying in the early sixties.

A World Apart is the feature directorial debut of Chris Menges, the Oscar®-winning cinematographer of The Killing Fields (1984) and The Mission (1986). Like those earlier films (both directed by Roland Joffe), there is a strong social consciousness and political content, but Menges also brings a subdued dramatic atmosphere and rich visual sensibility to the film, layering scenes with telling details that illustrate the conditions of life in this place and time. He takes care to view the story from the perspective of Molly and draws a poignant and powerful performance from the young May. She is excellent as the spirited, affectionate, curious girl who communicates her growing awareness with wide eyes and pained expressions that wash across her face. Watching an elderly man knocked violently off his bicycle in a hit-and-run by a white driver is startling, but it's the callous apathy of the white bystanders that haunts her.

Hershey is cold and distant as the mother Diana, as if hardened by the struggle and the constant harassment by the police. She loosens up in a lively mixed-race party that is, predictably, raided by the police (with a platoon big enough to take on a small army), but otherwise she is so dedicated to the cause that she withdraws emotionally from her daughter. When Molly is shunned by schoolmates and even adults after her mother's very public arrest, she finds more acceptance in the black community than she does in her own. But she still has a hard time reconciling her understanding of the terrible inequities in her country with the anger at her mother for sacrificing family stability for the political struggle. The world apart is not just the segregated white society, but the distance between her and her mother, who is unable to talk frankly to Molly about her work.

The end of Apartheid was years away when the film was released in 1988, but it was decades away in 1963 and the film ends with a sobering reminder of the years of struggle to come: "Ruth First (Diana Roth) was assassinated on the 17th of August 1983. This film is for her and for the thousands who have died in the struggle for a free South Africa." Yet there is still a triumph in the conclusion, of personal commitment to justice if not the triumph of the struggle itself. The film's commitment to both the politics and the understanding of the adolescent Molly helped it win the Special Jury Prize and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury at Cannes 1988 and the Best Actress award, given jointly to Jodhi May, Barbara Hershey, and co-star Linda Mvusi.

Producer: Sarah Radclyffe
Director: Chris Menges
Screenplay: Shawn Slovo
Cinematography: Peter Biziou
Art Direction: Mike Philips
Music: Hans Zimmer
Film Editing: Nicolas Gaster
Cast: Jodhi May (Molly Roth), Jeroen Krabbe (Gus Roth), Barbara Hershey (Diana Roth), Nadine Chalmers (Yvonne Abelson), Maria Pilar (Spanish Dance Teacher), Kate Fitzpatrick (June Abelson), Tim Roth (Harold), Phyllis Naidoo (Sareda), Linda Mvusi (Elsie), Carolyn Clayton-Cragg (Miriam Roth), Yvonne Bryceland (Bertha).
C-113m. Letterboxed.

by Sean Axmaker
A World Apart

A World Apart

A co-production between Britain and Zimbabwe and filmed entirely on location in the Republic of Zimbabwe, A World Apart (1988) is the story of real life anti-Apartheid protester Ruth First (renamed Diana Roth for the film) as told by her daughter, screenwriter Shawn Slovo. While the events focus on her mother's political activities and her time in prison, the film is just as much about her own growing awareness of the world around her. It's both political and personal, the story of an ideal and the personal responsibility to fight for that ideal. Awareness of South African apartheid was growing in the West in the late 1980s. In 1986, Steve Van Zandt organized "Artists United Against Apartheid," a group of musicians from across the musical spectrum that refused to perform in the racially segregated country and brought the issue public through a politically charged protest song (which was banned in South Africa) and accompanying music video and album. Paul Simon's album Graceland brought the voices and musical styles of black South African musicians to America. Richard Attenborough brought the murder of civil rights leader Steven Biko to the screen (albeit through the story of a white journalist) in 1987 with Cry Freedom and in 1988, the Broadway musical "Sarafina" brought to life the story of the 1976 Soweto student uprisings. Like Cry Freedom, A World Apart dramatizes the evils of Apartheid and the racist policies of the ruling government through the story of white South Africans, in this case journalist and activist Diana Roth (Barbara Hershey) and her husband Gus (Jeroen KrabbĂ©), who is seen fleeing the country for his safety in the opening scenes. It's the last that his thirteen-year-old daughter (named Molly in the film and played by Jodhi May) sees of him in the film. The time is 1963 and Molly is just old enough to question the appalling treatment of the country's black citizens by the whites. The setting also resonates with American history: the civil rights struggle in the American south was intensifying in the early sixties. A World Apart is the feature directorial debut of Chris Menges, the Oscar®-winning cinematographer of The Killing Fields (1984) and The Mission (1986). Like those earlier films (both directed by Roland Joffe), there is a strong social consciousness and political content, but Menges also brings a subdued dramatic atmosphere and rich visual sensibility to the film, layering scenes with telling details that illustrate the conditions of life in this place and time. He takes care to view the story from the perspective of Molly and draws a poignant and powerful performance from the young May. She is excellent as the spirited, affectionate, curious girl who communicates her growing awareness with wide eyes and pained expressions that wash across her face. Watching an elderly man knocked violently off his bicycle in a hit-and-run by a white driver is startling, but it's the callous apathy of the white bystanders that haunts her. Hershey is cold and distant as the mother Diana, as if hardened by the struggle and the constant harassment by the police. She loosens up in a lively mixed-race party that is, predictably, raided by the police (with a platoon big enough to take on a small army), but otherwise she is so dedicated to the cause that she withdraws emotionally from her daughter. When Molly is shunned by schoolmates and even adults after her mother's very public arrest, she finds more acceptance in the black community than she does in her own. But she still has a hard time reconciling her understanding of the terrible inequities in her country with the anger at her mother for sacrificing family stability for the political struggle. The world apart is not just the segregated white society, but the distance between her and her mother, who is unable to talk frankly to Molly about her work. The end of Apartheid was years away when the film was released in 1988, but it was decades away in 1963 and the film ends with a sobering reminder of the years of struggle to come: "Ruth First (Diana Roth) was assassinated on the 17th of August 1983. This film is for her and for the thousands who have died in the struggle for a free South Africa." Yet there is still a triumph in the conclusion, of personal commitment to justice if not the triumph of the struggle itself. The film's commitment to both the politics and the understanding of the adolescent Molly helped it win the Special Jury Prize and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury at Cannes 1988 and the Best Actress award, given jointly to Jodhi May, Barbara Hershey, and co-star Linda Mvusi. Producer: Sarah Radclyffe Director: Chris Menges Screenplay: Shawn Slovo Cinematography: Peter Biziou Art Direction: Mike Philips Music: Hans Zimmer Film Editing: Nicolas Gaster Cast: Jodhi May (Molly Roth), Jeroen Krabbe (Gus Roth), Barbara Hershey (Diana Roth), Nadine Chalmers (Yvonne Abelson), Maria Pilar (Spanish Dance Teacher), Kate Fitzpatrick (June Abelson), Tim Roth (Harold), Phyllis Naidoo (Sareda), Linda Mvusi (Elsie), Carolyn Clayton-Cragg (Miriam Roth), Yvonne Bryceland (Bertha). C-113m. Letterboxed. by Sean Axmaker

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Winner of the Best Actress Award (Barbara Hershey) at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival.

Released in United States 1988

Released in United States July 1, 1988

Released in United States July 1989

Released in United States March 1997

Released in United States September 1988

Released in United States Summer June 17, 1988

Re-released in United States January 20, 1989

Shown at Dublin Film Festival October 26 - November 4, 1988.

Shown at Dutch Film Days September 22-28, 1988.

Shown at Montreal World Film Festival August 24 - September 4, 1988.

Shown at Munich Film Festival June 25 - July 3, 1988.

Shown at Santa Barbara International Film Festival (A Salute to Barbara Hershey) March 6-19, 1997.

Shown at Wellington Film Festival July 7-22, 1989.

Directorial debut for acclaimed cinematographer Chris Menges.

Began shooting June 18, 1987.

Completed shooting September 1987.

Released in United States 1988 (Shown at Dublin Film Festival October 26 - November 4, 1988.)

Released in United States 1988 (Shown at Montreal World Film Festival August 24 - September 4, 1988.)

Released in United States 1988 (Shown at Munich Film Festival June 25 - July 3, 1988.)

Re-released in United States January 20, 1989 (Los Angeles)

Released in United States Summer June 17, 1988

Released in United States July 1989 (Shown at Wellington Film Festival July 7-22, 1989.)

Released in United States March 1997 (Shown at Santa Barbara International Film Festival (A Salute to Barbara Hershey) March 6-19, 1997.)

Released in United States July 1, 1988

Released in United States September 1988 (Shown at Dutch Film Days September 22-28, 1988.)