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Review: Skin

Love will tear us apartheid
By LANCE GOULD  |  January 13, 2010
3.0 3.0 Stars

"The definition of a white person is a person who in appearance obviously is a white person . . . or who is generally accepted as a white person and is not in appearance obviously not a white person." The preceding is not another jaw dropper from Senator Harry Reid but rather verbatim law from South Africa's apartheid regime.

The statute is read aloud during a courtroom scene from Anthony Fabian's Skin, the true story of Sandra Laing, a black girl born to white parents in 1950s South Africa. In a country where being "white" means you're a citizen and being "black" means you're not, the distinction is of particular interest to Laing's family.

Yet ultimately, Sandra — played as a young girl by the stunningly effective Ella Ramangwane and through womanhood by the engrossingly awkward Sophie Okonedo — embraces her blackness, a decision that puts her at odds not only with the monstrous Kafka-esque government but also with her fanatically inflexible father. Her life-long ordeal is the latest reflection on race from an increasingly vibrant cinema about South Africa.

  Topics: Reviews , Entertainment, Movies, South Africa,  More more >
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