A woman's journey. In a Zulu village, Yesterday is a cheerful mother with an inquisitive five-year-old child, Beauty. Yesterday has a persistent cough, and after several attempts to see the doctor at a regional clinic, she gets a diagnosis. She goes immediately to Jo'burg, where her husband is a miner. Then she must deal with consequences. Her singular motivation is to see that Beauty enrolls in school the next fall. The film begins and ends with Yesterday walking on a road. Written by
I will be candid and divulge my biases. I am a person with AIDS and cancer. I am 55 years old. I have seen most of the AIDS movies, made for better or worse over the years. I have no particular associations with Africa. A rare 10 vote goes to this film because it is, in its absolute simplicity, a perfect primer on the effects of AIDS on plain and simple lives. There are no greeting card sunsets. There are no weepy hand-holding scenes between the rich parent/spouse/sibling and "the victim" on the lawn of a palatial estate in America. There is exhausting repetition of the details of hard lives. There is the mean ignorance of people who see themselves as unaffected and superior. There is the sudden dependence of the counter dependent and unfaithful husband. There is the forgiveness by the infected wife, who already has too much to bear as an impoverished woman and mother. There is her faith, her dedication, her love to the end in a relationship that has brought her own early death. And there is the stark and indifferent beauty of Africa itself, photographed by a lover's eye. There are no surprises here for anyone, unless he has lived with his head up his Developed-World assets. There is just a map to better understanding of a largely shared human condition.
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