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Mapantsula (1988)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama | 6 November 1992 (South Africa)
Mapantsula tells the story of Panic, a petty gangster who inevitably becomes caught up in the growing anti-apartheid struggle and has to choose between individual gain and a united stand ... See full summary »

Director:

Oliver Schmitz
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Thomas Mogotlane Thomas Mogotlane ... Panic (Johannes Themba Mzolo)
Marcel van Heerden Marcel van Heerden ... Stander
Thembi Mtshali Thembi Mtshali ... Pat
Dolly Rathebe Dolly Rathebe ... Ma Modise
Peter Se-Puma Peter Se-Puma ... Duma Sithole (as Peter Sephuma)
Darlington Michaels Darlington Michaels ... Dingaan
Eugene Majola Eugene Majola ... Sam Modise
Gabriel Dichwabe Gabriel Dichwabe ... Crowd Leader
Brad Morris Brad Morris ... Riot Policeman
Polite Dlamini Polite Dlamini ... Prisoner
Duma Nyembe Duma Nyembe ... Prisoner
Jerry Mokgoko Jerry Mokgoko ... Policeman
Similo Makhambi Similo Makhambi ... Charge Office Sergeant
Boitumelo Dijoe Boitumelo Dijoe ... Sergeant
Arthur Molepo Arthur Molepo ... Warder
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Storyline

Mapantsula tells the story of Panic, a petty gangster who inevitably becomes caught up in the growing anti-apartheid struggle and has to choose between individual gain and a united stand against the system. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

apartheid | See All (1) »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

California Newsreel

Country:

South Africa | UK

Release Date:

6 November 1992 (South Africa) See more »

Also Known As:

Afrikander See more »

Filming Locations:

Johannesburg, South Africa See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first anti-apartheid feature film for and about Black South Africans. It was banned by the government of the day, but has subsequently won several South African Film Awards. See more »

Connections

Featured in In Darkest Hollywood: Cinema and Apartheid (1993) See more »

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User Reviews

 
I believe Mapantsula is one of the best movies about the struggle against oppression ever made.
16 January 2002 | by samdienerSee all my reviews

I believe Mapantsula is one of the best movies about the struggle against oppression ever made (almost up there with Satyajit Ray's Distant Thunder, Puenzo's Official Story, and Beresford's Breaker Morant in my book). Like these other films, it beautifully and powerfully focuses on the impact of government violence on the lives of characters who are, at first, unaware of the larger forces which have been shaping their lives.

Mapantsula was ingeniously made under the noses of the South African apartheid censors. The director submitted a script for an innocuous crime-drama, and while the censors were on the set, that is what they filmed. When the censors were not hovering immediately nearby, they filmed the real script - the story of a mapantsula, or thief, who becomes politicized in an apartheid jail. Once they edited the film, they smuggled the finished print out of the country.

The film is at times brutal in its realistic depiction of the physical and psychological tortures employed by the regime of that time. At other times, it is a lyrical and believable evocation of the growing consciousness, and evolving conscience, of the title character, as he encounters more overtly political prisoners in the jail.

I think Mapantsula is far superior to most other anti-apartheid feature films, although I enjoyed (that is to say, I cried through) Menges' A World Apart, and the documentary Last Grave at Dimbaza was superb.


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