Saturday, February 13, 2010

Yesterday

Yesterday (2004) is the first Zulu language film to be released internationally. It is the only film in the history of cinema to be nominated for both an Academy award and an Emmy award. Set in a remote South African village, it's maturity and realism make it a deeply moving and heartfelt drama. Yesterday is a woman with a young daughter. Becoming increasingly sick, her attempts to seek medical attention fail because she can't walk to distant clinic and arrive soon enough for a good place in line. A school teacher she befriends pays for a taxi, and Yesterday learns that she is HIV positive. When she travels to Johannesburg to tell her husband, he beats her, in denial that he is infected and the one who has transmitted it to her.

From the film:
Doctor: Your body is strong. It is keeping the disease in check.
Yesterday: It is not my body. (She points to her temple) It is here. I have made up my mind.
Doctor: How so?
Yesterday: Until my child goes to school, I'll not die. My daughter starts school next year. I can't wait for that day. Only then can this "thing" take me away. No, I will not die till that day.

When her husband's health begins to deteriorate, it does so quickly, and he returns to the village. Village gossip leads to the same hysteria we've seen in the states. Despite her own decaying condition, she builds a shack for her dying husband so he doesn't have to stay in the village. The sequence where the husband leaves the village for the shack, barely able to walk, a crutch on one side, Yesterday on the other, will fill the eyes of anyone with a pulse.

Although clearly dying, she lasts through the first day of school, buying her daughter a new school uniform. She tells the school teacher, "I have never been to school."

The school teacher replies, "I will love your daughter as if she were my own."

From an IMDB review:
As a South African, this is the first time I've seen any media portray the HIV/AIDS crisis in our country in a way that makes it real, without political agenda or moralizing the issue. For that I commend the film. What also impressed me was the film's simplicity and the fact that it was unpredictable in its character portrayal. For cinematography, it is definitely one of the best movies ever to have come from our shores. Then there is the brilliant acting by Khumalo. The film is not without fault, but it shows that our film industry is capable of producing quality films. Just a pity that most South African audiences do not give the local industry the support it needs.

From Nelson Mandela's endorsement of the film:
The HIV/AIDS and Education projects will be able to allow communities to interact with the film, engage with the circumstances it presents, and with specific responses to the characters portrayed. We are confident that this will assist in spreading the message of prevention, caring for and supporting those infected and affected by the pandemic and most importantly highlight the need to remove stigma and discrimination.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Mariana said...

The woman's name is "Yesterday" because yesterday was better then today

2/13/2010 8:51 PM  
Anonymous K Patel said...

In a land where tomorrow is a gift, where adversity is everyday life, comes a poignant tale of courage, compassion, and determination.

A story of humanity defined by a mother's love.

Open your heart to the true power of love.
The power to change tomorrow.
Yesterday.

2/13/2010 11:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for bringing this film to my attention.

Your blog has an interesting mix of content, a lot more creative than most.

And very informative.

2/14/2010 6:24 PM  

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