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Proteus (2003)

Cast: Rouxnet Brown, Rouxnet Brown, Shaun Smyth, more...
Director: John Greyson, John Greyson, Jack Lewis, more...
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Strand
Genre: Drama, Foreign, Costume Drama/Period Piece, Prison, Gay & Lesbian, Africa, South Africa, Features
Running Time: 113 min.

Canadian filmmaker John Greyson teams up with South African activist Jack Lewis to direct the period romantic drama Proteus. Based on a true story from 1735, the story involves a forbidden love affair between two prisoners in a colony near Cape Town. Black servant Claas Blank (Rouxnet Brown) is arrested for stealing back his own cattle from a white man. Because he has learned to speak English and Dutch, he is allowed to help European botanist Virgil Niven (Shaun Smyth) cultivate flowers. Part of his punishment is fetching water with white Dutch prisoner Jacobsz (Neil Sandilands), who eventually becomes his lover. After Niven leaves the colony, Blank and Jacobsz are caught and forced to confess. Proteus was shown at the 2003 Toronto Film Festival. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

More flowers from Greyson by talltale September 28, 2005 - 3:30 PM PDT
I wish that John Greyson and Jack Lewis, the writers/directors, had decided not to flagrantly mix time periods throughout PROTEUS (a title card reads 1735, followed by a truck pulling up in the midst of men dressed in 18th century garb). While this approach can work as both a source of amusement and a manner of calling attention to modern day mores, because "Proteus" (based on actual homosexual happenings in South Africa between convicts white and black) has the possibility of becoming a strong and moving love story, this directorial tack doesn't serve as well as it might.

Greyson's "Liles," of a decade ago, managed the tricky task of using an all-male cast in men's and women's roles remarkably well, and here again he draws fine performances from his three leading men--Rouxnet Brown, Neil Sandilands and Shaun Smyth. By its end, the movie has built up to a semi-tragic level, breaking barriers of sex and color and exploring guilt and hypocrisy. "Proteus" is worth seeing, and good enough to make you wish it were better.

I had high hopes.... by AMartin4 March 10, 2005 - 3:43 PM PST
2 out of 3 members found this review helpful
but this film didn't give me all I had hoped it would. It did leave me with a feeling of sorrow after it was all over. Being based upon a true story I saw, all at once, how beautiful a love story it was but how tragic at the same time. I enjoyed listening to the bonus feature which was a San Francisco redio broadcast replay that interviews the producer/director. It was....ok....

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 4.91)
34 Votes
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