Set in Johannesburg in 1963, A WORLD APART is an utterly convincing, impeccably constructed indictment of apartheid, based on a semiautobiographical screenplay by Shawn Slovo. (Slovo is the daughter of Joe Slovo, head of the South African Communist Party and one of two white members of the
ANC executive council, and Ruth First, who was assassinated by a parcel bomb in Mozambique in 1982.) Jodhi May plays the younger Slovo as a 13-year-old whose world revolves around Spanish dancing lessons, hula-hooping, and swimming in the pool of her equally privileged best friend (Nadine
Chalmers). Her world is turned upside down when her father (Jeroen Krabbe), an ANC official,...