A loving father and husband, as well as being a well respected Boer-officer, decides upon hearing that the the British are planning a "scorched earth"- policy to go home and protect his wife and family instead of further participation in the war. This decision leads to him and his sons being tried for high treason. Afrikaans drama starring Gys de Villiers, Vilje Maritz, Deon Lotz. In cinemas 22 February.
What we thought:
During the third phase of the Second
Anglo-Boer War in 1900 Lord Kitchener implemented a scorched earth policy –
British troops swept across South Africa systematically destroying crops,
slaughtering livestock, burning down homesteads and farms, poisoning wells, salting
fields and putting women and children in concentration camps.
At the centre of Paul Eilers' Verraaiers
(Traitors) is the character of Jan van Aswegen (Gys de Villiers), a respected
Boer officer who takes a stand against continuing to fight for a dream that's no
longer attainable, a war that's already lost.
As with Roepman, Eilers tells a
riveting story, not only of war, but of the women and children who are left
behind to deal with loss and uncertainty on a daily basis.
De Villiers delivers the performance of
his life as a man making the most difficult decision of his life, to be branded
a traitor, and in the process complicating his relationship with his son and
his son-in-law when his return home leads to their imprisonment, a trial and
the harshest possible sentence.
His son is played by Viljé Maritz
(Binneland) who gives an honest and raw performance and the late Andrew
Thompson is brilliant as his son-in-law.
One can also appreciate Rika Sennett,
who is heart wrenching as Jan's wife Gerda van Aswegen who slowly but surely
loses her mind. Beate Olwagen is sincere as Martha, Deon Lotz methodical as
General De La Rey and Jacques Bessenger believable as Scotsman Robert
From the same team behind Roepman and inspired
by true events from Albert Blake's book Boereverraaiers, Verraaiers is utterly
captivating, world class and speaks to a universal audience.
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