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Film Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat


The Power of One
Directed by John G. Avildsen
Warner Home Video 03/92 DVD/VHS Feature Film

The Power of One, is set in South Africa during the 1930s and 40s. Based on a book by Bryce Courtenay and directed by John G. Avildsen, it pays tribute to the important role three spiritual elders play in the character development of a young man who becomes a peacemaker and a leader in the fight against racial bigotry and violence. Starring in The Power of One are Stephen Dorff, Armin Mueller-Stahl, John Gielgud, and Morgan Freeman.

Native Americans have long realized the value of generational interdependence. Elders of the tribe were honored for the wisdom they could pass on to the young. In this unusual and morally uplifting drama, the elders to honor are a Zulu medicine man, a German concert pianist, and a black prisoner.

P.K., an English orphan, is tormented at boarding school by Afrikaners who hate the English as much as they hate blacks. His nanny takes him to a Zulu medicine man who helps the boy develop courage. Later, he learns about justice, wonder, and sensitivity from Doc, a German pianist who is a friend of his grandfather. A black man in prison teaches P.K. how to box and to act with his head and his heart.

Empowered by these three older men, P.K. grows up to be a bridge between the black tribes and the races in South Africa. He becomes an activist in the mission to bring literacy to the poor blacks living in the townships. One person can make a difference this film shows, especially when fortified in body, mind, and soul by the wisdom of spiritual elders.


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Reviews and database copyright 1970 2012
by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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