Irish Film Institute -Proteus



Canada-South Africa| 2003. Colour. Dolby digital stereo. 100 mins.

Canadian director John Greyson (Zero Patience, The Law of Enclosure) turns his hand to period drama with Proteus, a skilful exploration of the intersections of sex, race and politics. Based on real events and set in South Africa in the 18th century, it tells of a young Khoe herder, Claas Blank, who is unjustly convicted of theft and sentenced to hard labour on Robben Island, Cape Town’s penal colony. The film examines Claas’ relationship with two other men: an English botanist who enlists his help to cultivate the South African protea species; and a Dutch sailor with whom Class begins a sexual affair that has tragic consequences for all three men.

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