Disgrace (2008) Poster

Disgrace (2008)

  • Rate: 6.6/10 total 2,800 votes 
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Date: 26 December 2008 (Norway)
  • Runtime: 119 min
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Disgrace (2008)


Disgrace 2008tt0445953.jpg poster

  • IMDb page: Disgrace (2008)
  • Rate: 6.6/10 total 2,800 votes 
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Date: 26 December 2008 (Norway)
  • Runtime: 119 min
  • Filming Location: Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
  • Budget: $10,000,000(estimated)
  • Gross: $66,643(USA)(4 October 2009)
  • Director: Steve Jacobs
  • Stars: John Malkovich, Natalie Becker and Antoinette Engel
  • Original Music By: Antony Partos   
  • Soundtrack: Five Bells
  • Sound Mix: Dolby Digital
  • Plot Keyword: Professor | Student | Africa | Redemption | Piano

Writing Credits By:

    (in alphabetical order)

  • J.M. Coetzee  novel
  • Anna Maria Monticelli  screenplay

Known Trivia

    Goofs: Continuity: When David confronts Lucy at the impound yard, he pulls her left arm away from the steering wheel. In the next shot, it has returned.

    Plot: After having an affair with a student, a Cape Town professor moves to the Eastern Cape, where he gets caught up in a mess of post-apartheid politics. Full summary »  »

    Story: Cape Town professor David Lurie blatantly refuses to defend himself for an affair with a colored student whom he gave a passing grade for an exam she didn't even attend. Dismissed, he moves to his daughter Lucy's farm, which she runs under most disadvantage terms, favoring the black locals. Yet rowdies violently robs and abuse them both, unprovoked. Lucy refuses to fight back, unlike David, who however is surprised by his own altruistic potential.Written by KGF Vissers  


    Synopsis: David is an edgy 52 year old divorced white South African professor teaching the romantic poets when he befriends a student and they begin an affair. She is uneasy about the relationship and there is clearly an imbalance of power. David is disciplined by the university and is forced to resign. He is unrepentant about fulfilling his desires.David heads off to visit his adult lesbian daughter, Lucy, who is farming in the bush. He finds her living alone, but in a business partnership with Petrus a black farmer, who has settled adjoining land.While staying with Lucy, David helps out at the voluntary animal clinic, mostly helping destroy unwanted dogs. He becomes involved with Lucy’s friend who runs the clinic.When Petrus is away, they are attacked by three youths. Lucy is raped and they are robbed. David suspects that Petrus is involved and soon it is revealed that one of the attackers is related to Petrus’ wife.David urges Lucy to prosecute her attacker, but Lucy wants to make peace with her community and wants the protection of Petrus and his family. She has become pregnant as a result of the rape and chooses to have the child.David gains insight into his abuse of power and visits the family of the student with whom he had the affair. He seeks their forgiveness.Lucy makes an arrangement with Petrus and she becomes his tenant in return for his alliance and protection. David moves into the township and continues his work with the animal clinic. He accepts Lucy’s compromise.

    David Lurie (John Malkovich), twice-divorced and dissatisfied with his job as an English professor in post-apartheid South Africa, finds his life falling apart. When he seduces one of his students, Melanie (Antoinette Engel) and does nothing to protect himself from the consequences, he is dismissed from his teaching position, and goes to live with his lesbian daughter Lucy (Jessica Haines), who shares a farm in the Eastern Cape with trusted black worker Petrus (Eric Ebouaney). For a time, his daughter’s influence and natural rhythms of the farm promise to harmonise his discordant life. But the balance of power in the country is shifting. In the aftermath of a vicious attack by three black youths, he is forced to come to terms with the changes in society – as well as his disgrace. [D-Man2010]


    FullCast & Crew

    Produced By:

    • Wouter Barendrecht known as executive producer
    • Marlow De Mardt known as co-producer
    • Julio DePietro known as executive producer
    • Barbara Gibbs known as line producer
    • Steve Jacobs known as producer
    • Anna Maria Monticelli known as producer
    • Brigid Olen known as co-producer
    • Emile Sherman known as producer
    • Michael J. Werner known as executive producer

    FullCast & Crew:

    • John Malkovich known as Professor David Lurie
    • Natalie Becker known as Soraya
    • Antoinette Engel known as Melanie Isaacs
    • Antonio Fisher known as Sidney – Student
    • Isabella De Villiers known as Mrs. Cundell – Student
    • Cindy Mkaza known as Mrs. Mbeti – Student
    • Liezel De Kock known as Student Director
    • Charles Tertiens known as Ryan
    • David Dennis known as Mr. Isaacs
    • Anne Looby known as Rosalind
    • David Ritchie known as Manas Mathbane
    • Monroe Reimers known as Hakim
    • Paula Arundell known as Dr Farodia Rassool
    • Bulelwa Freer known as Secretary
    • Alana Louise Bowden known as Student
    • Sara Zwangobani known as Young Woman
    • Barry Quin known as Desmond Swarts
    • Thandi Sebe known as Female Student 1
    • Bronwyn Reddy known as Female Student 2
    • Nicola Swanepoel known as Female Student 3
    • Jessica Haines known as Lucy
    • Eriq Ebouaney known as Petrus
    • Monica Tyalana known as Market Customer
    • Fiona Press known as Bev Shaw
    • Michael Richard known as Bill Shaw
    • Buyami Duma known as Pollux
    • Thembalani Galada known as Young Black Man
    • Xola Honono known as Tall Black Man
    • Ian Roberts known as Ettinger
    • Roshina Ratnam known as Indian Doctor
    • Mtombi Makutshi known as Petrus' Young Wife
    • Sydney Kohlakala known as Band Member
    • Duke Norman known as Band Member
    • S.F. Gojo known as Band Member
    • Ntobeko Rwanda known as Orator (as Ntobeka Rwanqa)
    • Amy Brittow known as Desiree Isaacs
    • Denise Newman known as Mrs. Isaacs
    • Eve Szapira known as Mrs. Cundell – Professional
    • Terence Bridgett known as Sidney – Professional
    • Jonathan Nkala known as Postman
    • Maboni Nyakta known as Prostitute (as Maboni Nyakatya)
    • Mbali Kgosidintsi known as Prostitute
    • Scott Cooper known as Student (uncredited)



    Supporting Department

    Makeup Department:
    • Zeljka Stanin known as makeup department head

    Art Department:

    • Storm Dyssell known as standby props
    • Brian Glaser known as assistant construction manager
    • Andrew Gouveia known as carpenter
    • Marco Guidetti known as construction stand-by
    • Brooke Morris known as props buyer/set dresser
    • Brendan Smithers known as construction manager




    Production Companies:

    • Fortissimo Films
    • Sherman Films
    • Whitest Pouring Films
    • Wild Strawberries

    Other Companies:

    • Australian Film Finance Corporation (AFFC)  funding
    • Dolby Laboratories  sound mix
    • Newbridge Film Capital  funding


    • A-Film Distribution (2009) (Netherlands) (theatrical)
    • Bac Films (2010) (France) (theatrical)
    • Dendy Films (2009) (Australia) (theatrical)
    • Maximum Film Distribution (2009) (Canada) (theatrical)
    • Paladin (II) (2009) (USA) (theatrical)
    • A-Film Home Entertainment (2009) (Netherlands) (DVD)
    • Alamode Film (2010) (Germany) (DVD)
    • David Distribucion (2008) (Mexico) (all media)
    • Flashstar Home Vídeo (2009) (Brazil) (DVD)
    • Image Entertainment (2010) (USA) (DVD)
    • Image Entertainment (2010) (USA) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
    • Imagem Filmes (2009) (Brazil) (DVD)
    • Svensk Filmindustri (SF) (2009) (Sweden) (DVD)
    • Teleview International (2008) (Lebanon) (all media) (Middle East)
    • Zon Lusomundo Audiovisuais (2009) (Portugal) (all media)



    Other Stuff

    Special Effects:

    • Elemental Effects

    Visual Effects by:

    • Simon Alberry known as I/O supervisor
    • Paul Butterworth known as visual effects supervisor: Fuel International
    • Sam Cole known as compositing supervisor: FUEL International
    • Felix Crawshaw known as visual effects producer: Fuel VFX
    • Rebecca Dunn known as digital supervisor
    • Daniel Loui known as digital compositor
    • An Nguyen known as system administrator/pipeline engineer: FUEL International
    • Takahiro Suzuki known as digital compositor
    • Andreas Wanda known as animator
    • Matthew Wynne known as lead compositor
    • Koji Yamaguchi known as compositor

    Release Date:

    • Canada 6 September 2008 (Toronto International Film Festival)
    • Brazil 26 September 2008 (Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival)
    • Norway 26 December 2008
    • Germany 6 February 2009 (European Film Market)
    • UK 19 February 2009 (Glasgow Film Festival)
    • Hong Kong 8 April 2009 (Hong Kong International Film Festival)
    • Turkey 15 April 2009 (Istanbul Film Festival)
    • Denmark 19 April 2009 (CPHPIX Festival)
    • Russia 21 May 2009 (limited)
    • Poland 22 May 2009
    • Netherlands 4 June 2009
    • Australia 18 June 2009
    • Belgium 22 July 2009
    • Spain 31 July 2009
    • Sweden 2 September 2009 (DVD premiere)
    • USA 11 September 2009 (New York City, New York)
    • Germany 17 September 2009
    • New Zealand 24 September 2009
    • Portugal 1 October 2009
    • UK 4 December 2009
    • France 3 February 2010
    • Mexico 14 May 2010
    • Austria 21 May 2010
    • Hungary 24 September 2010 (TV premiere)

    MPAA: Rated R for sexual content, nudity, some violence and brief language



    Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database

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    Posted on March 30, 2012 by Harry in Movies | Tags: , .


    1. Chris Knipp from Berkeley, California
      30 Mar 2012, 10:01 pm

      J.M. Coetzee's Disgrace is a hard, concentrated novel, painful to read,unyielding, uncooperative, unfun. What better actor than John Malkovichto convey Coetzee's own unwillingness to do anything to ingratiatehimself to the reader? The actor projects a cold self-assurance. It maynot matter that his South African accent is faulty at best, fades inand out; that he seems too distant and affected to be any kind ofliterature teacher, let alone one currently teaching Wordsworth, adevotee of Byron. The same thing happened with his performance asValmont in Frears' Dangerous Liaisons. His Midwestern drawl grated; helacked suavity, lacked charm. None of it mattered because he had suchevil, such confidence, such panache, such an edge, he held the screenand transformed himself into a new compelling kind of 18th-centuryFrench Iago of love. Besides, here, as his daughter Lucy, the SouthAfrican newcomer Jessica Haines is equally important and very good,less flawed by casting incongruities than Malkovich. And as Coetzee'scomment has acknowledged, the most important thing to the adaptation ishow the film can convey the beauty of the South African landscapebetter than his book did.

      What's most disturbing to people about the novel is this: it conveysideas through the protagonist David Lurie (Malkovich's role) about howSouth Africa has been trashed, how the blacks hate the whites, how thecountry is a place of anarchy and violence, that are clearly Coetzee'sown views. How dare he do that and make no bones about it? But sincehe's ruthlessly honest, how dare he not? The novel was the first I readby Coetzee and didn't make me run out to read more. But the book becamethe first time a writer won a Booker Prize twice, and four years laterCoetzee was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Maybe he was doingsomething right.

      And so were the Australian Steve Jacobs who directed this adaptation ofthe book and his Moroccan-born wife Anna Maria Monticelli who wrote thescreenplay and produced it. Outsiders that they are they havenonetheless produced an adaptation that makes a complex book clearerwithout mangling or oversimplifying it. This kind of internationalproduction may grate upon the spirits of South Africans, but theywouldn't be likely to enjoy an all-local production either. All one cansay is that this is a book that works well as a film and that adaptssuccessfully without a lot of changes.

      David Lurie has had several wives but he "wasn't made for marriage." Awomanizer, a sensualist, at 52 he's losing his physical attraction;he's looking old. Even his Malay prostitute lets him go. He forceshimself upon Melanie Isaacs (Antoinette Engel), a mixed-race student inhis romantic poetry class. When they have sex, she turns away as ifrepelled, but she submits. He's found out and threatened by Melanie'sboyfriend, yelled at by her father, boycotted by the students, and atan administrative hearing he's so unrepentent he ends by being forcedto leave the college. He goes to the Eastern Cape where his lesbiandaughter Lucy has recently been abandoned by her lover. She growsflowers and vegetables she sells in the local market, and she arrangesfor David to help Bev (Fiona Press), a middle-aged lady whose animalshelter work consists primarily of euthanizing unwanted dogs. In andout of the property he now shares with Lucy is Petrus (Eriq Ebouaney),an almost mythically neutral, philosophical black man who owns landthere and is gradually taking over, but who also made Lucy's gardenland arable.

      Then enters the outside horror. Three young black men appear when Lucyand David are returning from a walk and ask to use her phone. Theyinvade the house, rape Lucy, nearly kill David, and shoot all Lucy'sdogs, wrecking the interior of the house and stealing David's car. Onepours a bottle of methyl spirits over David and sets fire to him,locking him in the bathroom.

      This sequence is more powerful than the book. After his arrogance, tosee Malkovich cowering beside a toilet bowl with his face burned isunforgettable. Eventually he returns to Cape Town and cowers beforeMelanie's family, asking forgiveness. It's not quite believed, but it'sas much of a transformation as such a man is capable of. But it'sLucy's response that's more important: she refuses to report the crime,and refuses to leave. She cooperates with Petrus, who defends theyoungest perpetrator. He turns out to be family, the son of his newwife's sister. He says it's over. Reconciliation. In fact, the attackmay not have been so random.

      David says it'll never be over and will be passed on to those who comelong after them. This may be an endgame. But they were born here andthey remain. The important thing is that Lucy stays, and so does David,after returning to Cape Town to apologize — and be serviced by aprostitute. The film, like the book (but perhaps in clearer outline) isabout humiliation, suffering, enduring. It's about sexuality and aboutliving with other beings, other animals. Viewers who don't findDisgrace "real" astonish me, though people and events are symbolic aswell as specific, always richly both, and always simple and complex.David sleeps with Bev to please her, because she's lonely, and shewants it. Of course it's the sort of good deed that pleases him, butthere is humility in it, as is his help, however unenthusiastic, withthe animals. Malkovich's arrogance becomes complex because the mostvivid images in the film are the ones of him cowering and afraid. Inorder to maintain his Byronic arrogance as a genteel rapist of"coloured" young women, he has given up his pride and his status.Disgrace is a film for smart people. It's as tightly coiled andthought-provoking as the book, and nearly as good.

    2. kevin-rennie from Australia
      30 Mar 2012, 10:01 pm

      Both J.M. Coetzee's novel and its film adaptation leave their audiencewanting more answers. Disgrace is a confronting and brutal tale of lifein modern South Africa. The message is clear. There are no simplesolutions.

      Literary academic David Lurie's admiration of Byron seems to haveformed his personal morality and his professional ethics.

      His amorality leads to a doomed relationship that precipitates bothwork and identity crises. His alienation from university colleagues andstudents results in a refusal to defend his reputation or hisprofessorial position.

      He is not the victim of an old fool's infatuation but the arrogance ofa serial Casanova. He quotes William Blake as his sole defence, "Soonerstrangle an infant in its cradle than nurse unacted desires." Hisretreat to his daughter's remote farm entangles their individualproblems in the realities of life in the post apartheid era.

      Director Steve Jacobs and screenwriter Anna Maria Monticelli continuetheir professional and personal partnership as co-producers. Theirearlier collaboration on La spagnola in 2001 was another Australianproduction that is a minor gem.

      John Malkovich's ability to convey complete self absorption and intenseself doubt without dialogue make him an excellent choice for David.Relative newcomer Jessica Haines plays his daughter Lucy. Hers is acompetent and moving performance. Eriq Ebouaney strikes the right tonein a difficult role as Petrus, the black farmer and her co-landholder.

      Disgrace is an adaptation that more than does justice to the novel.Like the book, it does not sensationalise or over-dramatise thisextremely difficult story. I had misgivings before the screeningbecause the novel seemed so bleak. Lucy's compromise and David'sacceptance of her decision offer such slim hope.

      We are left with little doubt that this is an allegory for the issuesfacing modern multi-racial South Africa. Yet it is at the personallevel that the film is most powerful.

      Kevin Rennie Cinema Takes http://cinematakes.blogspot.com

    3. Philby-3 from Sydney, Australia
      30 Mar 2012, 10:01 pm

      Steve Jacobs, who has considerable experience as an actor, has directedonly one previous film, the rather episodic "La Spagnola", but here hehas managed to do justice to a very fine literary work by J M Coetzee.The fairly short book, 220 pages, fits neatly into the 2 hours ofscreen time, and writer Anna Maria Montecelli has followed the bookfairly closely – little is left out. The last two scenes in the bookare reversed in the film which makes the ending a little less bleak,but otherwise it is a fairly faithful adaptation-perhaps too faithful,as others have said, but I'm not sure what other approach could havebeen taken. Coetzee's themes come through loud and clear. Although theproduction team is Australian, filming was mainly on location (on ashoestring $6 million) in South Africa.

      The story of a professor's ill-judged affair with a student and hisfall from grace is a pretty common one, a recent example being PhilipRoth's novel "Elegy" filmed with Ben Kingsley as the professor. Forsome reason these errant academics always seem to be in the field ofliterature – surely professors of botany and physics have similartendencies. Exposure brings about a variety of reactions. The parentsand other students are apoplectic, but the panel of fellow academicsinquiring into Professor Lurie's affair is all set to thrash him with afeather, as long as he apologises in public. However, Lurie is tired ofteaching and just wants to confess and leave, perhaps to continue hiswork on Lord Byron (a suitable literary hero for a fornicator). He goesoff to visit his daughter Lucy on her smallholding in the Eastern Capecountryside, but this turns out to be less than idyllic. In the newSouth Africa power has moved into the hands of the black majority, andwhite people are there on sufferance only, as Lucy has realised.Ex-professor Lurie becomes involved with an animal refuge, and itsoperator, a blowsy middle aged woman whom he would not have given asecond look in his previous life. Yet somehow he comes to accept hishumiliation.

      John Malkovich's performance as Lurie is what you would expect – anarrogant, hissing snake of a man. I couldn't help wondering howdifferently Ben Kingsley would have done it. Malkovich is a verymannered actor at his best on the stage and his Lurie is, well, a bitlurid. Nevertheless he holds our attention if he does not capture oursympathy. Jessica Haines as his daughter Lucy does – a wonderfullyjudged and utterly realistic piece of acting.

      What the film does give us, which the book cannot, is the magnificenceof the setting, and the film makers have done very well in this regard,though they have used locations in the Western Cape rather than theEast. I was struck by the similarities with parts of Australia, andwondered what it would be like living as a member of a white minority.As Coetzee and the film makers attest, it is not a comfortable positionto be in.

    4. corrosion-2
      30 Mar 2012, 10:01 pm

      Disgrace is based on J.M. Coetzee's prize winning novel. Its centralcharacter is a an English professor in South Africa and hisrelationship with a number of women including one of his students, hisdaughter and a lover. It's about race, sex, revenge, redemption, moralambiguities, what is right and what is wrong; above all it's about thecomplex nation that is South Africa.

      Having read the novel, I can say that the film is very faithful to thebook. Perhaps if the movie can be faulted it is because the filmadaptation is too faithful. We can clearly hear the author's voice inthe movie but not the director's. It just does not resonate as itshould have done considering the source material. This by no means tosay Disgrace is not a good film; in fact it is a very good film, finelyacted (especially by Malkovich) and well directed. But it is not agreat film and one feels that if Steve Jacobs, the director had perhapsnot remained so faithful to the novel, the film would have risen fromthe level of a very competent and faithful adaptation to a great andperhaps even a classic film.

    5. lreynaert from Belgium
      30 Mar 2012, 10:01 pm

      After having read J.M. Coetzee's complex, disturbing, shocking andcontroversial novel, one could not directly see how this story could betransformed into an appealing screenplay and still less into aconvincing movie. It's heavily charged with all kind of sexualcontacts, unforced and forced ones (by someone who is in a dominatingposition) and even with pure rape. It deals also with the eventualoutcome of those contacts, like pregnancy and parental love. Moreover,the story unfolds against the violent background of open racism in acountry known for its apartheid.

      Steve Jacobs did a formidable job in turning the harsh and sometimesbitter and terrible realities into a moving, emotional and ultimatelysublime movie, which matches the book. The director was impressivelyhelped by his cast and in the first place by John Malkovich, whose(physical! and mental) interpretation of the very uninviting characterof a sexually driven university professor is certainly one of his mostmemorable. He was superbly seconded by Jessica Haines as his fiercelyindependent daughter as well as by the rest of the cast.

      A must see for all movie lovers and for all admirers J. M. Coetzee'swork.

    6. mehmet_kurtkaya from Istanbul
      30 Mar 2012, 10:01 pm

      A fifty-something white professor almost forcefully seduces his prettyblack student who then breaks the news to his boyfriend. When the wholecampus learns of the event, the unapologetic professor resigns andvisits his daughter's house in the middle of nowhere in rural Africa.

      The life of the professor and her daughter are forever changed afterthey are brutally attacked in their home by three African teenagers.

      The script adapted from Coetzee's novel is plain wonderful, as eachcharacter not only is part of a dramatic story but also actors of awider drama, that of South Africa. After the end of apartheid, rapecases of white woman by blacks had shot up. The movie picks up fromthere and comments on Africa's bastardized future, where past crimeslead to revenge crimes, where only other crimes force wrongdoers takeresponsibility and ask for forgiveness.

      Directing was good, the movie told the drama with full clarity andefficiency. Acting by John Malkovich was simply great! Eriq Ebouaneywas quite good, Jessica Haines as well.

      I had watched this movie during Istanbul Film Festival and had theopportunity to attend a question and answer session by Malkovich. Itwas not about this movie but about him taking the Istanbul FilmFestival Lifetime Achievement Award and acting in general. I wassurprised to see that he was shy and modest person. In real life too,he transmits the big energy that can suddenly come out of calm.

    7. putYourHandsUp from New Zealand
      30 Mar 2012, 10:01 pm

      All of us have to suffer the indignities of life, even our ultimatefate of death. What we can do is choose how we deal with the cards weare dealt. This movie examines people's reactions to injustices and tolife itself.

      David is an English Lit professor, who has long since accepted hissexual desires as being part of his nature, being comfortable to makeuse of prostitutes, accepting that he was not "made for marriage". On awhim he strikes up a sexual relationship with one of his students. Forthis indiscretion and for falsifying some records for her benefit, heis faced with disciplinary action from his Goliath – the universityboard.

      Knowing that there is nothing much he can do, he completely submits totheir charges, accepting guilt without bothering to even examine thecharges, no matter the consequences, leaving prudence to the wind. Inthis he is quite defiant and dignified. An admirable reaction.

      Ironically Melanie, the object of his desires, a limp participant whoseems to just let things happen to her, suffers no long term effectsand ends up as a successful actress.

      Her father's reaction is one of refined indignation. He and David'sdignified interaction, and David's ultimate plea for forgiveness lendssome honor to the story. Prostrating himself before Melanie's motherwas excessive but admirable.

      David's relationship with, and support of his daughter Lucy also makesfor an interesting story. Lucy quietly yet forcefully accepts her fate.Both the departure of her lesbian lover and the rape at the hands of 3young men, she takes ownership of, quietly accepting, yet drawingboundaries where she can, making pragmatic choices. Often disheveledand fragile, she makes for riveting viewing and empathy. Like theflower-grower/seller she is, she brings a fragile and ephemeral beautyto the world. Interesting line: after her rape she finds Davidpartially burned and the first thing she says is "What on Earth havethey done to you?!" David's support of her choices, even ones thatbring him to tears, is heartwarming.

      David's relationship with Rosalind shows him capable of deeper, gentlelove, more than the superficial sex he has with others.

      Rosalind herself is the caring executioner. By watching her we have toface our own ultimate fate. Will we also die like dogs, and will we bedisposed of with the same care she gives her charges?

      Manas, the man who shares Lucy's life in an unusually superficial,pragmatic fashion, is a study in doing the right thing for the sake ofthe community. He is the builder, building physical shelters for hiswife and metaphorical shelter for Lucy. Doggedly insisting that thingsmust move on, that everything will be all right, that the time willcome.

      This movie asks you: how do you handle the injustices of life? Uncaringlike Melanie, gently like Rosalind, with pragmatical simplicity likeManas, with desperate acceptance like Lucy, with defiant dignity likeDavid? There is a lot more you can find in this movie. It is worthseeing more than once.

      The title is an enigma. Where is the Disgrace? In life itself? In ourinability to shape our futures with much effect?

    8. secondtake from United States
      30 Mar 2012, 10:01 pm

      Disgrace (2008)

      Wow, what a troubled movie, and troubling. At the very very bottom, Ithink it's about accepting things that are horrible because you haveto, but also about accepting things that you don't understand, alsobecause you have to. That's a hard thing to do, and the lead character,a literature professor played by John Malkovich, is the kind of man whoanalyzes and understands with great nuance almost everything.

      But things go wrong, and he is trying to help his grown lesbiandaughter, who in her submissiveness all around, even to him, lets himfail through no fault of her own. The world of South Africa, wherewhites are bound to gradually lose their place, their land, their wellbeing in a shift back to the original black inhabitants, is not easy tograsp, and the movie, based on J.M. Coetzee's novel, tries. Noble,frustrating, at times unconvincing, "Disgrace" is redeemed (as a movie)by the professor's seeming higher sense of values. We cling to hisfeelings for justice and for his daughter even as we find himpersonally despicable. "Disgrace" is also redeemed (as a concept) bythe very strong currents of the book, dealing with what might be themost problematic issue of our times–how to get along, how to coexistand when not to, how to understand and accept and sometimes refuse toaccept.

      Great stuff, good movie.

    9. doyler79 from Ireland
      30 Mar 2012, 10:01 pm

      This austere movie based on a Booker prize winning novel beJ.M.Coertzee will leave you breathless as the performances by Malkovichand his co star Jessica Haines are both very compelling.A story perhapswithout a beginning or an ending and not a movie for the brainless, maysuit more than one viewing to figure out all the symbolism here of postapartheid South Africa. Here we are asked how do you handle theinjustices of life? aloof like Melanie, timid like Rosalind, withdesperate acceptance like Lucy or with audacious dignity like David?There is a lot more to discover in this movie.The title is an enigma,where is the Disgrace? In life itself or In our inability to shape ourfutures with much effect? Well worth a watch but be prepared to befrustrated, angry and outraged by the displays of injustice paradedbefore you.

    10. jotix100 from New York
      30 Mar 2012, 10:01 pm

      The professor of English literature David Lurie is, perhaps, ananachronism. This white man living Cape Town, in the South Africa ofthe post apartheid era, is living in a rarefied world for he does notsee the realities of a country in which things have changed forever.Lurie, a man that enjoys sex, is seen at the beginning of this story inbed with a black prostitute. David, who is divorced, has a keen eye forbeauty. He has his eyes set on Melanie, one of his students. When theopportunity, he forces himself on the young woman, who clearly isturned off by the mere fact of which she was forced by this hatefulindividual.

      Because of an inquiry at the university, David is asked to resign. Thenext thing we see him do is packing his belongings and taking a trip tosee his daughter Lucy, a lesbian, living on a farm where she is tryingto make a living selling vegetables and flowers. Lucy has a man,Petrus, helping in the farm. She allowed him to live with his wife inwhat used to be a barn. David is both, proud, and horrified by the wayher daughter lives.

      One day, three intruders arrive in the farm asking permission to usethe telephone. These three men turn out to be bandits that come withthe intention of stealing whatever they can from Lucy. Two of themattack David with such violence and hate that it is a miracle hesurvives when one of them sprays him with a flammable liquid, throwinga match at him. The intention is clearly to do bodily harm to this manthat probably represented in the thugs' eyes a despised era of not toolong ago. The result is traumatic for both David and Lucy. Thisincident will alter their lives forever.

      The magnificent J.M. Coetzee novel comes to the screen thanks to theexcellent adaptation by Anna Maria Monticelli that translates theessence of the book into cinematic terms. The direction by Steve Jacobsshows an understanding for the original material. The faithfuladaptation is, perhaps, one of the best assets in our enjoyment of themovie. These are basically people that have been deeply wounded tryingto adapt to new circumstances, something that parallels the situationin the country that had been ruled with an iron fist by a minority.

      John Malkovich outdoes himself in his portrayal of this man whosuddenly realizes he is living in a strange land he knows nothingabout. It is one of the best appearances the actor has done recently.Same could be said about Jessica Haines work. This young actressdeserves to be seen more often; she can hold herself against a man ofthe caliber of Mr. Malkovich with ease and charm. The mostly SouthAfrican supporting players are good under Mr. Jacobs' direction.

      "Disgrace" is worth a look by discerning fans.

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