END OF THE DIALOGUE is a landmark film that was one of the first to reveal the full horrors of apartheid to the world. Made in 1970, the film is valuable not only as a record of apartheid, but as a record of how people's understanding of South Africa was then changing. Produced by a small group of black South African exiles and film students based in London, it caused an uproar when it was originally released. More than 30 years after the images and facts still shock.
At that time, white South Africans enjoyed the world's second highest standard of living, while in some parts of the country black life expectancy was 34 years, with 50 percent of black children dying before their fifth birthday. 87 percent of the country's land was reserved for whites, with the least desirable tracts set aside for black self-sufficiency.
The film features stark visual contrasts between the prep schools, military parades and rugby matches of the white minority, and the bare classrooms, torn clothes and back-breaking working conditions of the blacks who make their lives of luxury possible.
A powerful contemporaneous record of the apartheid years, watching END OF THE DIALOGUE today, one can't help but be struck by how remarkable South Africa's transition to democracy has been.
"Powerful and distressing... A remarkable film...the anti-apartheid impact of the film is immense... [The] most successful act of clandestine subversion against apartheid for years."—Observer (London)
2003 African Studies Association Conference Film Festival
1971 Emmy Award
Golden Dove Award, 1970 Leipzig Film Festival (Germany)
Golden Squirrel Award, Netherlands Film Institute
Inter-Film Jury Prize and the Volkshoch-Schule Jury Prize, 1970 Oberhausen Film Festival (Germany)
1970 Catholic Film Workers Prize
1970 Moscow Film Festival
"It is a grim catalogue, but irrefutably accurate, set out without slant or emotion; as in Resnais' Night and Fog, it is the absence of emotion which generates it... technique used with shattering effect. An eloquent, angry testament to what apartheid means for the people who are obliged to live with it."—Monthly Film Bulletin
"Agonizingly well done...ammunition to be used in the fight for more freedom and equality."—Daily Mirror (South Africa)
"Rightly and righteously angry...passion flooded the film, drummed on the sound track...full of menace...cold black anger with statistics at its fingertips..."—The Guardian
"END OF THE DIALOGUE documents with hard objectivity the workings of apartheid. It should be seen: it is so inconceivable, that we so easily put out of our minds how one race can exploit another, not only without ordinary humanity, but also without any foresight for the future that must one day come."—Financial Times (London)