7.0/10
4,586
37 user 20 critic

A Dry White Season (1989)

A white middle class South African suburbanite with no interest in politics agrees to help his black gardener find his jailed son. His investigation opens his eyes to the horrors committed by the secret police and turns him into a target.

Director:

Euzhan Palcy

Writers:

André P. Brink (novel) (as André Brink), Colin Welland (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Donald Sutherland ... Ben
Janet Suzman ... Susan
Zakes Mokae ... Stanley
Jürgen Prochnow ... Captain Stolz (as Jurgen Prochnow)
Susan Sarandon ... Melanie
Marlon Brando ... McKenzie
Winston Ntshona ... Gordon
Thoko Ntshinga Thoko Ntshinga ... Emily
Leonard Maguire Leonard Maguire ... Bruwer
Gerard Thoolen ... Col. Viljoen
Susannah Harker ... Suzette
Andrew Whaley Andrew Whaley ... Chris
Rowen Elmes Rowen Elmes ... Johan
Stella Dickin Stella Dickin ... Susan's Mother
David de Keyser David de Keyser ... Susan's Father (as David De Keyser)
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Storyline

Ben du Toit is a schoolteacher who always has considered himself a man of caring and justice, at least on the individual level. When his gardener's son is brutally beaten up by the police at a demonstration by black school children, he gradually begins to realize his own society is built on a pillar of injustice and exploitation. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

Afrikaans | Zulu | English

Release Date:

20 September 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Dry White Season See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$202,507, 24 September 1989

Gross USA:

$3,766,879

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,766,879
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie was originally in development at Warner Bros. before the studio passed on the project, whereby it was transferred and ended up at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). The New York Times reported that the film "was dropped by one studio" and "orphaned at another when the studio head left." See more »

Goofs

When Marlon Brando is in court grilling the Doctor. His glasses are on, then they pan away from him for a moment then back to him and his glasses are up on his head. Then they pan away for just a second, and when they go back to him, they are down again. Very subtle but easy to notice. See more »

Quotes

Ben du Toit: Jesus, Susan, this is not just about Gordon! This is about all of us!
Susan du Toit: No. It's about all of *them*. And I will be damned if I let them destroy my family. I don't want Gordon's ghost in my house! I don't want the one with the dark glasses, any of these kaffirs here ever again! I just want to go back to the way it was!
Ben du Toit: If you had come with me... if you had seen what was happening in that court, you would know that we can never go back to the way it was.
Susan du Toit: I *was* in the court.
Ben du Toit: What?
Susan du Toit: Listen to me, ...
See more »


Soundtracks

UNOMATHEMBA
Written by Joseph Shabalala
Performed by Ladysmith Black Mambazo,
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records
Produced by Danny Lawson for Night After Night Ltd.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Accurate but incomplete portrayal of the old South Africa
29 March 2005 | by ctepizkpSee all my reviews

If you want to understand what the old South Africa could be like at its worst, this movie accurately portrays it. Well acted and only slightly over-dramatized, it gives you the sense of how the ruling culture was blind to its own injustices. Those who oppose the main character from within his own family make some valid points, and that makes it all the more chilling.

As someone who lived in South Africa until shortly before the year this movie is set in (and was forced to leave because I opposed apartheid), I can't fault the authenticity of this movie but I want to caution viewers not to form all your opinions of white South Africans from this type of film. There is a good side to every culture, but it is harder to portray and doesn't always make great box office.

If this movie leaves you hating anyone, you are taking away the wrong message. If it leaves you realizing this could happen anywhere, and ordinary good people can easily find themselves on the wrong side in situations like this, that is the right message to take away.


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