Morgan Freeman

The Healer

BLOEMFONTEIN, SOUTH AFRICA—It was as clear as the film’s most famous scene: The work of reconciliation in South Africa is not done yet. In February 2008, a video appeared online showing four white students from South Africa’s University of the Free State (UFS) hazing their black janitors as if they were new freshmen. There’s a beer-drinking contest, a footrace to “Chariots of Fire.” Near the end, the boys appear to pee into bowls of stew and urge the janitors to eat up. It was supposed to be an in-house joke, a protest against a plan to integrate their dorm, a student residence called Reitz.

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The Healer

BLOEMFONTEIN, SOUTH AFRICA—It was as clear as the film’s most famous scene: The work of reconciliation in South Africa is not done yet. In February 2008, a video appeared online showing four white students from South Africa’s University of the Free State (UFS) hazing their black janitors as if they were new freshmen. There’s a beer-drinking contest, a footrace to “Chariots of Fire.” Near the end, the boys appear to pee into bowls of stew and urge the janitors to eat up. It was supposed to be an in-house joke, a protest against a plan to integrate their dorm, a student residence called Reitz.

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To rake Harry Reid over the coals about his “no Negro dialect” comment will bring to mind the Biblical passage about trying to take a speck out of someone’s eye when you’ve got a log in your own. Pretty much all of America black and white feels exactly the way Harry Reid does about the way black people talk – and aren’t even worried about saying it out loud. First of all, we need not pretend that by “Negro dialect” Reid meant the cartoon minstrel talk of Amos n Andy.

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Though the story is set in South Africa, Clint Eastwood’s Invictus is a hybrid of classic American forms, the triumphant sports movie and the high-minded political film. There is much to like in the film, and a fair amount one might dislike as well, but in the end one’s overall feelings are likely depend on one’s enthusiasm for these genres in general and for their peculiar marriage in this instance. Invictus tells the story of the 1995 Rugby World Cup, the first major international sporting event to take place in South Africa following the collapse of apartheid.

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WAFCA Speaks

The Washington Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA) conducted our end-of-the-year awards balloting over the weekend, and the big winner was Up in the Air, which took Best Film, Best Actor (George Clooney), and Best Adapted Screenplay. An Education did well, too, with Carey Mulligan taking Best Actress.

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