Thursday, April 8, 2010

His Big White Self (2006)

Nick Broomfield


Dropping in on prickly white supremacist Eugene Terre'blanche 15 years after The Leader, His Driver and the Driver's Wife, His Big White Self offers a cogent history of apartheid and a witheringly frank look at an irrelevant racist in decline. In the months leading up to the 1991 repeal of apartheid, The Leader presented Terre'blanche as a blowhard, his driver JP a blind follower eager for race war, and JP's wife Anita a chillingly amoral racist in the guise of frumpy housewife. The film so enraged its subjects that the helmer received death threats. So, per Broomfield, no one was more surprised than he to be drawn back into their world, a trip prompted by Terre'blanche's 2004 release from jail after serving three years of a six-year sentence. Vowing, in his trademark sped-up inflectionless narration, to get "behind the beer bellies and the badly trimmed beards" of those still espousing the repressive ideology of the now-marginalized Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB), the helmer reconnects with JP, now estranged from Terre'blanche, divorced from Anita, and surprisingly pleased to see his old nemesis.


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