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American in Sophiatown, An

American in Sophiatown, An(2007)

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  • an american in sophiatown

    • kevin sellers
    • 1/17/17

    This is a good documentary about the making of the wonderful anti apartheid film "Come Back Africa," which goes a long way toward answering the question I posed in my TCM review, "How did director Lionel Rogosin make this movie, on location in Johannesberg, in 1959, without being thrown into jail?" Apparently, there were two reasons. One is that Rogosin was a very talented prevaricator, and consistently fooled the South African authorities into thinking that he was making either a musical or an account of the Boer War. The other reason, of course, is that Rogosin was white and the Afrikaaners could not imagine a fellow Caucasian, even an American, breaking the color line. There are also perceptive interviews with "Come Back Africa's" co screenwriter, cinematographer, and a white anti apartheid woman who was in the cast on a host of interesting topics, ranging from the personality of Rogosin (intense) to the function of shabeens in black South African society of (basically a place to drink, hang out, philosophize, argue, and pick up members of the opposite sex) to the fact that Sophiatown has physically gone upscale but emotionally has remained the same rather downtrodden place it was in '59. P.S. Sorry to hear that Miriam Makeba, once she became a star and fell under Harry Belafonte's influence, trashed Rogosin as an "amateur." Just proves once again that when it comes to actors temporary deafness is the best policy.

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