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In 1725, two young men meet while working in the prison garden of Robben Island, Cape Town’s penal colony. Claas Blank is a quick-witted Khoisan convict, determined to escape at any cost. Rijkhaart Jacobsz is a soft-spoken Dutch sailor serving time for sodomy. Despite the prohibition of vast racial and cultural taboos, they embark on a tentative affair that neither has words for. Their furtive relationship is witnessed by Virgil Niven, the Scottish botanist who runs the prison garden. This strange triangle of fascination and repression continues for 10 years, ignored by the prison authorities, until Niven returns to the Cape and inadvertently brings about their downfall.

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John Greyson

Toronto film/video artist John Greyson has made several award-winning shorts and features. These include: Urinal (1988 – Teddy Award for Best Feature at the Berlin Film Festival); The Making of Monsters (1991 – Best Canadian Short, Toronto International Film Festival, Teddy Award for Best Short Film, Berlin Film Festival); Zero Patience (1993 – Best Canadian Film, Sudbury Film Festival); Lilies (1996 – Genie Award, Best Film; best film awards at festivals in Montréal, Johannesburg, Los Angeles and San Francisco); Uncut (1997, Honourable Mention, Berlin Film Festival); and The Law of Enclosures (2000, Genie Award for Best Actor). He also received the Toronto Arts Award for Film/Video in 2000. In addition, John Greyson is co-editor of Queer Looks, a critical anthology of gay/lesbian media theory (Routledge, 1993), and the author of Urinal and Other Stories (Power Plant/Art Metropole, 1993).

35 mm

97 minutes


Aspect ratio


Original version in Africaans

Subtitled in English



Producer – Canada

Anita Lee

Producers – South Africa

Steven Markovitz

Platon Trakoshis

Coproducers – Canada

Damon D'Oliveira

John Greyson

Coproducer – South Africa

Jack Lewis


John Greyson


John Greyson

Jack Lewis

Director of Photography

Giulio Biccari


Roslyn Kallo


Tattersall Casablanca

Production Designer

Tom Hannam

Costume Designer

Diana Cilliers


Don Pyle

Andrew Zealley


Rouxnet Brown

Shaun Smyth

Neil Sandilands

Kristen Thomson


Pluck Productions
83 Benson Ave.
Toronto, Ontario
M6G 2H7
(416) 656-6086
(416) 656-7430

Coproduction – South Africa

Big World Cinema
38A Trill Rd.
Cape Town, 
South Africa
(2721) 448-0608
(2721) 448-1065

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