Shirley Adams

Copresented by The Global Film Initiative

A mother attempts to care for her paraplegic son in this affecting South African drama, winner of the Durban Film Festival's awards for Best South African Film, Best Actress, and Best Debut Film. Veteran South African actress Denise Newman stars as the title character, a single mother stretched to the limit with caring for her disabled son Donovan, who was injured in a gang fight. The appearance of a wide-eyed (and attractive) social worker gives new hope to Donovan, but for Shirley all that matters is getting through each day. Capturing the dimly lit claustrophobia of his characters' lives, director Oliver Hermanus brings a Dardennes-Brothers level of realism to his tale, yet refuses to wallow in any overt sentimentality or oppressive squalor. Instead, he focuses on the simple human drama of one family, one house, and the many moments that make up life.

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