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Getting past politics in South Africa

November 06, 2005|Rene Lynch

ON and off screen, Mark Bamford and Suzanne Kay find themselves battling stereotypes about South Africa.

Their new movie, "Cape of Good Hope," is not at all what might be expected from a film set in a country once bitterly divided by race: The comedy-drama follows the intertwined lives of several characters, including a woman who rescues dogs, a widowed veterinarian and a Muslim couple eager to have children.

Although the movie won't open in South Africa until March -- it was a marketing decision to debut Dec. 16 in the U.S. first and build awareness -- many of the South Africans who have seen it are delighted by the film's focus away from politics, Bamford said. "It tells you the truth about South Africans. It shows what their lives are like," he said. "Most people don't wake up and think about politics."

The husband-and-wife filmmakers (he directs and she produces their co-written scripts) lived in Los Angeles as freelance screenwriters before moving to Johannesburg.

They'd first visited South Africa while touring the festival circuit with their powerful 2000 film short, "Hero," and they surprised many with their decision to stay. "It is really such a beautiful and fascinating place," Kay said. "Yes, there is racism and prejudice against foreigners. But generally, it's people of all backgrounds getting along pretty well, surviving day to day."

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