"I'm not black," says little Sandra to her schoolmate, after the girl has mentioned that all her best friends back home are black. No, Sandra is "white," as we learn in a terrific new movie called SKIN, which, before it is over will have sent Sandra, officially, from black to white to black and back again. The adult Sandra is played by the beautiful actress Sophie Okonedo,
(shown above and in the second and third photos below) of Hotel Rwanda and Aeon Flux), and the younger version by the charming newcomer Ella Ramangwane (below, center), who is as lovely as she is intelligent.
Skin is about what its title suggests -- or more precisely about skin color and how it impacts on lives led in South Africa, from the 1960s until the 90s, at which time the official policy of apartheid came to an end. (How apartheid was practiced in South African schools is shown in one scene that should effectively curl your hair.) Sandra's skin is dark, you see, even though the child was born of two white parents, played extremely effectively -- Elephant Man-sized warts and all -- by Sam Neill (below, right) and Alice Krige (below, left). During the closing credit, we see the actual family upon which the film is based, and the resemblances are surprisingly strong.
ends, the latter of which can be understood as one of the many unintended results of South Africa under apartheid. I cannot recommend either movie highly enough.
Skin opens in New York City and Los Angeles this Friday, October 30; other major U.S. cities will have theatrical runs in the coming weeks. You can find the entire list of playdates here.