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A World Apart

  • Drama
  • 1988
  • Chris Menges
  • 112 mins
  • PG


1963. Thirteen year old Molly Roth, the eldest of three offspring of Gus and Diana Roth, lives a carefree life as part of the affluent white minority in South Africa. Race is a non-issue for her as although, under apartheid, the Roths largely exist among other white people like them, she feels equally comfortable around the black people in her life, such as their servants and her parents' black friends. Beyond knowing that they are busy in their work, Molly is unaware of the full extent of what her parents do, Gus a leading member of the South African Communist Party and Ruth an anti-apartheid journalist who also secretly works for the underground in support of the outlawed African National Congress. Shortly after Gus quietly escapes the country to evade probable arrest by the government - Molly believing it just a short work related trip - Molly's carefree life starts to unravel when Diana is detained for ninety days under a new law that allows such detention without ever even being charged with a criminal offense. The goal of Diana's interrogators, led by Inspector Muller, is to get her to divulge details especially of the underground, most specifically proverbial "names". Beyond missing her mother, Molly begins to resent the anti-apartheid work which has directly and indirectly impacted her life in a negative way, she wanting a mother, not an activist-mother. As the situation with Diana evolves, which includes someone needing to act as caregivers to Molly and her younger sisters while Diana is in detention, Molly gets a broader perspective of her situation under apartheid as she is able to see more of life just outside her protected white enclave, and as she is made aware of what Diana is trying to achieve for society in her work.

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Diana RothBarbara Hershey
MullerDavid Suchet
Molly RothJodhi May
Gus RothJeroen Krabbé
Yvonne AbelsonNadine Chalmers
Spanish Dance TeacherMaria Pilar
June AbelsonKate Fitzpatrick
HaroldTim Roth
SaredaPhyllis Naidoo
ElsieLinda Mvusi


DirectorChris Menges
WriterShawn Slovo
ProducerSarah Radclyffe
ComposerHans Zimmer
EditorNicolas Gaster
Production designerBrian Morris


English | Swahili | Afrikaans | Spanish

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