Films & Schedules

  • Disgrace

  • Steve Jacobs

English, Xhosa, Afrikaans, Zulu
120 minutes

Production Company:
Wild Strawberries/Sherman Pictures Pty Ltd.
Executive Producer:
Julio DePietro, Wouter Barendrecht, Michael J. Werner
Anna-Maria Monticelli, Emile Sherman, Steve Jacobs
Anna-Maria Monticelli, based on the novel by J. M. Coetzee
Production Designer:
Mike Berg, Annie Beauchamp
Steve Arnold
Alexandre de Franceschi
Sam Petty
Antony Partos
Principal Cast: John Malkovich, Jessica Haines, Eriq Ebouaney, Fiona Press

International Sales Agent:
Fortissimo Films

Saturday September 0608:30PM WINTER GARDEN THEATRE Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Monday September 0812:15PM SCOTIABANK THEATRE 1 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Saturday September 1310:00AM CUMBERLAND 3 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

J. M. Coetzee's Booker Prize-winning novel Disgrace has been recognized as both a searing dissection of the failings of a mad-hearted man and an unflinching look at the lingering demons of apartheid. Adapted for the screen by director Steve Jacobs and starring John Malkovich (also in this year's Burn After Reading and Afterwards), the story now unfolds in a cinematic rendering that heightens the tragedy, the beauty and the humanity of Coetzee's brilliant original.

David Lurie is a fastidious and coolly impervious professor living in Cape Town. When he destroys his own university career through a foolhardy and almost entirely one-sided affair with one of his students, he flees the city to spend some time with his daughter, Lucy (Jessica Haines), leaving scandal, notoriety and anger to await his return. Shortly after his arrival at Lucy's lonely farm in the Eastern Cape, David's worst fears about her isolation are realized when father and daughter are savagely attacked by three black youth. After the initial horror begins to pass, David is confounded by a whole new level of disbelief and impotence when he learns that one of the youth is a relative of the trusted worker Petrus (Eriq Ebouaney). This black man and white woman have secured a fragile coexistence in the South African bush. Petrus has even begun building a home on a corner of Lucy's property.

A beautiful film in many ways and featuring an exceptionally strong performance by Malkovich, Disgrace is stripped of the usual comforts. In a way reminiscent of Amores Perros, Disgrace develops a highly sophisticated series of symbolic echoes between protagonists and dogs, and viewers are warned that as tragedy befalls masters, so too it comes for their canine companions. But this is not simply a tale about the loss of hope. Rather, like Coetzee's novel before it, Jacobs's Disgrace is an exploration of the different roads on which people find themselves seeking grace, and the surprising ways that they finally find it.

Cameron Bailey

Steve Jacobs studied at the Mitchell College of Advanced Education and the Australian Film, Television and Radio School. He has acted extensively for television and film and directed several short films. As director, his feature films are La Spagnola (01) and Disgrace (08).

Cadillac People's Choice Award