Directed by the late American film-maker John Berry, who died during post-production, Boesman And Lena is the second big-screen version of Athol Fugard's play (itself heavily indebted to Samuel Beckett's Waiting For Godot in its vision of drifting humanity).
Danny Glover and Angela Bassett play the down-and-out South Africans of the title. Their's is a love-hate relationship, in which insults and accusations fly back and forth, although fleeting flashbacks reveal the couple's intimacy and shared loss. But when an aged Kaffir (Willie Jonah) stumbles onto their makeshift home, Lena treats him with warm compassion, arousing Boesman's ire...
The lengthy theatrical monologues, abstract setting and reliance on props make for unsatisfactory cinema. Bassett and Glover deliver intense, physical performances, yet this style of acting and direction is, unsurprisingly, far better suited to the stage than the screen.
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