SHIRLEY ADAMS

By Oliver HERMANUS

NATIONAL FILM & VIDEO FOUNDATION OF SOUTH AFRICA - as FIN

Drama - Completed 2008

The story of a woman who looses her family to violence and poverty, but gains her own sense of self worth.

    • Year of production
    • 2008
    • Genres
    • Drama
    • Countries
    • SOUTH AFRICA
    • Languages
    • ENGLISH
    • Director(s)
    • Oliver HERMANUS
    • Writer(s)
    • Oliver HERMANUS
    • Producer(s)
    • Jeremy NATHAN (DV8), Michelle WHEATLEY (DV8), Roland EMMERICH (Centropolis)
    • Synopsis
    • Shirley Adams spends her days caring for her disabled son, Donovan. He was shot in the back of the neck on his way home from school one afternoon over a year ago, and since then, the Adams family has lost all their worldly possessions to medical bills. She has no source of income: no job and no husband - he left without a word.
      Shirley’s life now consists of trying to make ends meet by shoplifting and relying on the charity of others. When a young eager occupational therapist, Tamsin Ranger, comes into their lives, Shirley hopes that it might lift her son’s spirits and finally put them on path to some form of stability. But when Donovan’s emotions get the best of him, Shirley is left to comfort her son once more, struggling to find reasons for him to keep on fighting.
      Shirley receives a phone call one afternoon informing her that her son’s case is finally going to trial, but the glory is short lived when Shirley discovers that the shooter is one of Donovan’s childhood friends, the pain of this betrayal is more than she can bare.
      With the repossession of her home seeming inevitable, and Donovan becoming increasingly suicidal, Shirley realises that the “justice” of the court will not restore what has already been lost.
      When Donovan drowns himself in the bath one morning, Shirley finds her life completely unrecognisable - devoid of family, religion, possessions and the one thing she thought she had left: being a mother. She now has the freedom of complete isolation and she methodically goes about healing all of the wounds that have burdened her for so long.
      Set in Mitchell’s Plain in Cape Town, Shirley’s story explores the ironic state of poverty where people kill each other yet help each other survive. Riddled with the socio political and racial tensions that plague these Cape Flats slums Shirley Adams is the story of one woman’s amazing strength and self sacrifice.
    • Partners & financing
    • NFVF
      Centropolis
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