CRY FREEDOM is an excellent primer for those wanting an overview ofapartheid's cruelty in just a couple of hours. Famed director RichardAttenborough (GANDHI) is certainly no stranger to the genre, and thecollaboration of the real-life Mr. and Mrs. Woods, the main whitecharactersin their book and in this film, lends further authenticity to CRY FREEDOM.The video now in release actually runs a little over 2 and a half hourssince 23 minutes of extra footage was inserted to make it a two part TVminiseries after the film's initial theatrical release. While the addedlength serves to heighten the film's forgivable flaws: uneven characterdevelopment and blanket stereotyping in particular, another possible flaw(the insistence on the white characters' fate over that of the Africanones)may work out as a strength. Viewing CRYING FREEDOM as a politically andhistorically educational film (as I think it should, over its artisticmerits), the story is one which black Africans know only too well, thoughthe younger generation may now need to see it on film for full impact. Itisthe whites who have always been the film's and the book's target audience,hopefully driving them to change. Now twelve years after the movie'sproduction, CRY FREEDOM is in many ways a more interesting film to watch.Almost ten years after black majority rule has been at least theoricallyinplace, 1987's CRY FREEDOM's ideals remain by and large unrealized. Ittherefore remains as imperative as ever for white South Africans,particularly the younger ones who have only heard of these actions to seeit, and absorb the film's messages. In total contrast to American slaveryand the Jewish Holocaust's exposure, South Africans' struggles have beentold by a mere two or three stories: CRY FREEDOM, CRY THE BELOVED COUNTRY(OK, Count it twice if you include the remake), and SARAFINA (did I missone?). All three dramas also clumsily feature American and British actorsinboth the white and black roles. Not one South African actor has played amajor role, white, coloured, Indian or Black!). And yes I did miss anotherinternational South African drama, MANDELA and DEKLERK. Though this (alsohighly recommended) biopic was released after black majority rule wasinstituted, MANDELA was played by a Black American (Sidney Poitier, whoalsostarred in the original S.A.-themed CRY THE BELOVED COUNTRY), while theAfrikaner DeKlerk was played by a (bald) very British Michael Caine, agoodperformance if you can dismiss that the very essence of Afrikanerdom isvehement anti-British feelings. Until local SABC TV and African filmsstartdealing with their own legacy, CRY FREEDOM is about as authentic as you'llget. As villified as the whites (particularly the Afrikaners) areportrayedin the film, any observant (non-casual) visitor to South Africa even nowin1999, not to mention 1977 when CRY FREEDOM takes place, will generallyfindwhite's attitudes towards blacks restrained, even understated. Looking atCRY FREEDOM in hindsight, it is amazing that reconciliation can take placeat all, and it is. But CRY FREEDOM at time shows not much has reallychangedin many people's minds yet, and that the Black Africans' goal to FREEDOMand reconciliation is still ongoing. This is why if you're a novice to thesituation, CRY FREEDOM, is your best introduction.