Oliver Schmitz

Oliver Schmitz – Mapantsula (1988)

From the Chicago Reader (Jonathan Rosenbaum) :
Shot in Johannesburg and Soweto by Oliver Schmitz, a white South African, this radical 1988 feature offers a grittier view of the anti-apartheid movement than Cry Freedom or A World Apart, both from the same period. A petty thief (Thomas Mogotlane) winds up in jail, meets other blacks involved in protesting racism, and gradually becomes politically aware. Banned in South Africa upon release, the film conveys a volatile sense of both time and place–according to the South African censor, it had “the power to incite probable viewers to act violently.” Read More »

Oliver Schmitz – Life, Above All (2010)

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Strong narrative drive and a lived-in sense of community distinguish “Life, Above All,” helmer Oliver Schmitz’s traditional but emotionally rich adaptation of Allan Stratton’s novel “Chanda’s Secrets.” A forceful account of a courageous 12-year-old fighting small-minded prejudice in her South African village, well-made pic maintains a tight enough focus on its heroine to avoid becoming a topical tract on the issues it grapples with, namely the AIDS epidemic, infant mortality and child prostitution. Positive critical response should give this Un Certain Regard hit a strong shot at offshore play. Read More »