Shirley Adams

Director: Oliver Hermanus
Country: South Africa
Year: 2009
Running Time: 92 min.
Language: English and Afrikaans

In this deeply affecting portrait of ordinary courage in present-day South Africa, a single mother Shirley Adams’ struggles to care for her paraplegic teenage son, Donovan, in a depressed district on the outskirts of Cape Town. Wearied but resolute, she desperately clings to him as he withdraws from the world following a suicide attempt, and is hopeful when his spirits are momentarily lifted by the appearance of Tamsin, a pretty but overeager social worker. But when the relationship between Donovan and Tamsin sours, his fragile emotional health declines, and Shirley’s faith and perseverance are put to the ultimate test.

About the Director

Oliver Hermanus

oliverhermanusBiography: The Cape Town-born Oliver Hermanus holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Film, Media and Visual Studies. After graduating, he worked as a press photographer with a national news agency in South Africa. He completed his Master of Arts degree at the London Film School, after receiving a private scholarship in 2006. His graduation feature film, Shirley Adams, premiered in competition at the Locarno International Film Festival in 2009. Oliver was nominated for the Sutherland Award at the London Film Festival and the Ingmar Bergman Debut Award at the Göteborg Film Festival. The film has won numerous prizes around the world including the Grand Prix at the Amiens International Film Festival and three awards at the Durban Film Festival. In 2009 Oliver was selected to attend the 19th session of the Cannes Film Festival’s Cinéfondation in Paris. Beauty (Skoonheid), his next film, was released in 2011.


Films Shown in AFF, Inc. Programs:
Shirley Adams (2011).

The Second Floor (2005);
Interior (2007);
Yumna (2007);
Shirley Adams (2009);
Beauty [Skoonheid] (2011).