Daring but successful undertaking: historical accuracy and an enthralling plot
Winner of the audience award at the Movies That Matter Festival! Set in South Africa, 1963. In the village of Rivonia eight leaders of the ANC resistance movement are picked up by the police. To this group is added a ninth member, already captured: Nelson Mandela. Keen to make an example of the group, the white apartheid regime demands the death penalty. Respected lawyer Bram Fischer, also secretly involved in the ANC, defends the group. When the secret police eventually discovers Bram Fischer’s double role, he faces a moral dilemma: should he choose to defend his clients or put his own safety and that of his family first?
The film becomes a court case thriller. In the title role, Peter Paul Muller gives a surprisingly strong and authentic performance. Hats off to director Jean van de Velde for his historically accurate portrayal of the South African resistance movement.
Bram Fischer was born into a prominent South African family and is known not only as a lawyer but also as a civil rights activist. In the 1940s he became a leader of the South African Communist Party, which worked closely with the ANC. After the massacre at Sharpeville in 1960, where thousands of black citizens were demonstrating against the discriminatory pass laws, both organisations were banned and went underground to continue the fight against apartheid and to win equality for the black majority.