Though it's still early in the festival and I have yet to see a few of the films in competition, I feel pretty confident in saying Goodbye Bafana will win the Golden Bear award this year. Every once in a blue moon you stumble across a perfect movie -- one that gets it all right -- and flows slow smoothly from start to finish, you almost wish it could go on and on ... and on. This year, in Berlin, Goodbye Bafana is that film. Not only is it an important real-life film based on two important men, but it's sincere, emotional and inspirational -- to a point where you just want to reach out and give Joseph Fiennes a hug, he's that believable. Pic, which is primarily set on Robbin Island, a prison off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa, begins in 1963 and spans 27 years. But, unlike La Vie en rose (which confused the audience with its jumping here, there and everywhere), Goodbye Bafana gracefully and seamlessly fades from one year to the next ... with each moment in time becoming increasingly more significant.
Story documents 27 years in the life of James Gregory (Fiennes), a prison guard looking for a way to move up the ranks during one of the most critical times in his country's history. With two young children and a wife to support, Gregory lands a job where is to take charge of the censorship office on Robbin Island -- a position that could easily lead to a promotion or two -- seeing as one of his main responsibilities is to look after South Africa's most feared terrorist, Nelson Mandela (Dennis Haysbert). Gregory, a severe racist (not because he chooses to be, but because he has to be), is to inspect all incoming and outgoing mail, while keeping an eye on Mandela and his cohorts. Because Gregory grew up on a farm, in which he was best friends with a black boy named Bafana, he knows how to speak Mandela's African dialect and proves useful in that he can play spy for the higher-ups.