South Africa\'s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was established in 1994 to mediate between those seeking amnesty from apartheid-related crimes and the families of their victims. The Commission faces the daunting task of assessing justice beyond the letter of the law and using character judgement as its main criteria for granting amnesty. This documentary examines four cases (out of 7000) brought before the Commission.
 

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Four stories of Apartheid in South Africa, as seen through the eyes of the Truth and Reconciliation commission.

This painfully gripping documentary by Frances Reid and Deborah Hoffman, examines four case histories from South Africa`s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Perpetrators of crimes under the apartheid regime were encouraged to come forward and seek amnesty; and thousands took part in hearings and confrontations all over the country under the general chairmanship of Desmond Tutu, it`s fascinating to learn that 80% of those applying for amnesty were black. The parents of American Fullbright scholar Amy Biehl, who was murdered by blacks in 1993 despite her support for the anti apartheid movement, come to the TRC in a spirit of forgiveness and visit the family of one of their daughter`s killers for a moving reconciliation. Eric Taylor, a white security officer who admits to being one of the killers of the Craddock Four, three activists and their friend who were beaten to death, seems to be sincere in his regrets, having been impressed with Nelson Mandela`s autobiography and the film Mississippi Burning. Robert McBride, an ANC activist, who exploded a series of bombs one of which killed three young Durban women, confronts the still bitter sister of one of them. And, in the film`s most horrifying segment, mothers at the hearing are traumatised by police videos of the savage murders of innocent youngsters and then confront one of the killers, a black policeman...The Truth and Reconciliation Commission seems to have been a unique way of attempting to heal South Africa`s wounds, but far from an easy one. This forthright documentary has no easy answers either, but it vividly depicts the willingness for almost all concerned to try to come to terms with the country`s violent, racist past.