Cleveland International Film Festival } March 22 – April 1, 2023 } Playhouse Square

Shirley Adams

Year: 2009
Language: English, Afrikaans
Run Time: 92 minutes

Shirley Adams
Shirley Adams
Shirley Adams
Shirley Adams
Shirley Adams

SHIRLEY ADAMS is a quietly devastating tale about the effects of youth violence on one South African family. Director Oliver Hermanus is an extraordinarily talented young filmmaker who, in 2006, received a private scholarship to the London Film School from Roland Emmerich, director of Hollywood blockbusters ("Independence Day", "2012"). No film could be further removed from Emmerich's high-octane explosions than SHIRLEY ADAMS. Shirley is a stubbornly devoted mother who spends every minute of her day caring for her teenage son Donovan, the victim of a gang shooting who is now a paraplegic. Hermanus's camera follows Shirley closely as she bathes her despondent son, helps him eat, and turns him over in bed. Poverty-stricken and without a means of support, Shirley and Donovan have been deserted by Donovan's father, and Shirley resorts to shoplifting to make ends meet. When Tamsin, a well-meaning young social worker, arrives to help out, Donovan's life brightens temporarily, though Shirley feels vaguely threatened. Denise Newman, one of South Africa's foremost actresses, portrays Shirley as a woman of astonishing fortitude and careworn grace. (In English and Afrikaans with subtitles) – B.B.

CIFF34 Screenings

Monday, March 22, 2010 at 11:50 AM

Thursday, March 25, 2010 at 9:25 PM

Friday, March 26, 2010 at 2:10 PM

Oliver Hermanus, Stavros Pambillis

Oliver Hermanus

Twenty-five-year-old Oliver Hermanus was born in Cape Town and studied film at the University there. He began his career as a press photographer, covering events as diverse as the G-8 Summit and the Glastonbury Music Festival. He directed several short films before making this, his feature debut.


Jeremy Nathan, Michelle Wheatley

Jamie Ramsay

Garreth Fradgley

Principal Cast
Denise Newman, Keenan Arrison, Emily Child, Theresa Sedras, Gamiet Peterson, Travis Snyders, Lee-Ann Van Rooi, David Muller

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