Office Christmas Party
Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…
I remember the story of Sandra Laing. I lived in Cape Town during 1965, the year this film begins, and it was all over the South African newspapers. Sandra was the daughter of white Afrikaners, the descendents of the country's original Dutch settlers.
There was no question they were her parents. But she didn't look white. Still, they cherished her and were proud of her. She was bright as a button. They enrolled her in school, and there was trouble. The white parents didn't want their children going to school with a black girl. Given the insanity of the apartheid system, it was unthinkable that white parents could have a black child. Her parents reassure her: Of course she's white.
As "Skin" begins, they run a little shop with a black clientele, but that doesn't make them liberal. When Sannie Laing (Alice Krige) gets too friendly with the customers, her husband Abraham (Sam Neill) tells her, "Be friendly with them but don't adopt them!"
He's outraged by any suggestion of African blood in his family. Sandra looks "coloured" to the people white and black who see her, but not to her parents. He fights all the way to the Supreme Court to have Sandra officially classified as white. Among his witnesses is a geneticist from Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, who testifies, "many and perhaps most Afrikaners have some non-white blood."