Archives / 2006 Sundance Film Festival

Son of Man

Director: Mark Dornford-May

Screenwriters: Mark Dornford-May, Andiswa Kedama, Pauline Malefane

Institute History

Description

The story of Jesus reclaimed as an African fable: a simple concept becomes a remarkable cinematic experience in Son of Man.

This is the second installment from the collaboration of director Mark Dornford-May and the South African theatre company, Dimpho Di Kopane. The moniker means "combined talents," and it aptly describes the incredible creative energy on both sides of the camera. Shot against the backdrop of a violence-riddled township and with text updated to modern time, Son of Man delivers one indelible impression after another. Mary conceives the Christ child during a militia attack on a grade school, Jesus asks for the surrender of handguns from his apostles, and the angel Gabriel is a precocious child marked with simple white feathers. Equally intriguing is the melding of the crucifixion and resurrection—alluding to the fact that in today's Africa, political dissidents, as Jesus was, are conveniently made to disappear.

In song and originality, the spirit of Son of Man is contagious, a life-enriching elixir for Christians and non-Christians alike who feel mired in the unyielding bigotry of fundamentalism. By modernizing one of the world's most famous stories, Son of Man creates lasting resonance and imparts a significance that is truly glorious.

— John Cooper

Screening Details

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