6.5/10
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14 user 16 critic

Proteus (2003)

An interracial gay love story set in early 18th century South Africa about two men -- a black prisoner living in a Cape Town penal colony and a Dutch sailor -- who weather injustices as a result of their affair.

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writers:

(script), (script) | 1 more credit »

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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Rouxnet Brown ...
Claas Blank
...
Virgil Niven
...
Rijkhaart Jacobz
...
Kate
...
Elize
Terry Norton ...
Betsy
Adrienne Pierce ...
Tinnie (as Adrienne Pearce)
...
Willer
Brett Goldin ...
Lourens
A.J. van der Merwe ...
Settler
...
Governor
Jeroen Kranenburg ...
Scholz
Andre Samuels ...
!Nanseb
Johan Jacobs ...
Nama Prisoner
Katrina Kaffer ...
Kaness
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Storyline

A recreation of the decade-long love affair in the 18th century in a Cape Town penal colony on Robben Island. The two lovers were a Dutch sailor imprisoned there for sodomy and a young Khoi herder. The Khoi were part of the Hottentot tribal group and as such were the untouchables of that time. The two were placed on trial and this love affair and the legal battles are the grist of Greyson and Lewis' film based partly on court transcripts from the time. In South Africa, during the 1700s, sodomy was a crime deemed worse than murder, and the fact that these two young men had indulged in it was also complicated by the fact that this was an interracial love affair. Written by Sujit R. Varma

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Genres:

Drama | Romance

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Release Date:

7 June 2004 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?

Crazy Credits

Beneath the opening title, the phrase 'Based on a true story' appears in Africaans, then in Dutch, and then English. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Introducing the "new" Sam Elliott
15 November 2004 | by (Minneapolis) – See all my reviews

While a brief description of "Proteus" may not make it sound particularly appealing, it's a surprisingly good work dealing with a time, place, and situation rarely covered in the movies. The anachronistic appearance of modern clothes and devices is only occasional and is probably meant to emphasize that the problems dealt with in "Proteus" are still with us today, in various forms. This insight, however, probably isn't worth the breaks in the movie's fabric these appearances cause. Also, the subplot involving a Dutch botanist, though given a lot of footage, never quite gels into a satisfying story.

Acting honors belong to Rouxnet Brown as the imprisoned "Hottentot" but viewers may be equally impressed by Neil Sandilands as the Dutch sailor-turned-inmate who becomes his lover. Sandilands may be half-a-notch below handsome but he has a good face and a good body and one can well imagine prison guards staring at him whenever he takes a shower. Unfortunately, his flogging scene is joined only after the final lash has been struck.

Neil Sandilands is a virtual newcomer at this point but he has about him the look and manner of a young Sam Elliott and could, with the right exposure, go places.

Those who go to this movie expecting lots of nudity and graphic sex will be disappointed. The sex scenes are frank but non-exploitive and, by current standards, almost modest.


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