Projected as fourth in a six-feature epic, chronological overview of the struggle against Apartheid -- but finished first because this section's U.S. focus facilitated funding -- "Have You Heard From Johannesburg?: Apartheid and the Club of the West" provides an engrossing look at grassroots activism making a global difference.

Projected as fourth in a six-feature epic, chronological overview of the struggle against Apartheid — but finished first because this section’s U.S. focus facilitated funding — “Have You Heard From Johannesburg?: Apartheid and the Club of the West” provides an engrossing look at grassroots activism making a global difference. Latest docu from Connie Field (“The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter,” “Freedom on My Mind”) is a straightforward, well-shaped mix of interviews and archival footage. Beyond fest play, the feature seems most suited for pubcasting, with the complete series sure to stand as an important educational tool and historical record.

While the series will commence in 1948 with the first United Nations session, “Club of the West” focuses on the early-to-mid-1980s, when the Reagan White House clashed with U.S. public sentiment. Reagan, seemed to view South Africa’s government as a friend, to many eyes enabling a blatantly racist system. He insisted proposed economic sanctions would only hurt “the very people we’re trying to help.” Pic charts growing Stateside opposition to that view, culminating in the dramatic, internationally influential 1986 Senate override of the President’s veto.

Have You Heard From Johannesburg?: Apartheid And The Club Of The West

Production

A Clarity Films production. Produced, directed by Connie Field. Screenplay, Ken Chowder, Field, Gregory Scharpen.

Crew

Camera (color, DV), Tom Hurwitz; editors, Scharpen, Jeffrey Stephens. Reviewed on videocassette, San Francisco, Oct. 17, 2006. (In Mill Valley Film Festival) Running time: 89 MIN.

With

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, George Houser, Richard Lugar, Ron Dellums, Cecelie Conts, Sylvia Hill, Adwoa Dunn-Mouton, Gay McDougall, Howard Wolpe.
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