Logo for The Last Face on DStv

Charlize Theron, Javier Bardem, Adèle Exarchopoulos

The Last Face is a romatic drama that centers around a love affair between Dr. Wren Petersen, the director of an international aid organization and Dr. Miguel Leon, a relief-aid doctor, set against the backdrop of brutal civil war across Africa.

 

They meet in war-torn West Africa in 2003, when they’re thrown together to help save lives in one of the world’s bloodiest conflicts. Despite spotting that Leon is a playboy, Wren can’t help herself and the pair find love in the most harrowing surroundings, driven by their mutual passion for the value of life, while having diametrically opposed opinions on how best to solve the conflict that surrounds them.

 

Their on-off relationship spans years, but after a long period apart, they reconnect in South Sudan. During that time, Wren has has become the director of an international aid agency called Medecins du Monde, established by her world-famous father. Miguel is still the same man, in all the best and worst ways. They reconnect and are drawn to each other once more – but will history repeat itself, with all these years between them? 

 

The story of conflict in Africa is close to the hearts of many of the people behind the scenes on the film. Writer Erin Dignam had spent years researching the story in Central Africa, and had in fact adopted two children from Sierra Leone, so it was a very personal story for her and for many years she wanted to direct it herself. Unable to realise her hopes, she turned to producer Matt Palmieri to help bring the story to the screen. Palmieri himself had previously made another war zone conflict movie, Darfur Now, about genocide in South Sudan, and has a humanitarian background. “My mother was a peace activist, and my father was Ambassador at large for U.S Refugee affairs during Carter administration, working in Somalia and Ethiopia, so I spent a lot of my childhood in Africa,” he says. Director Sean Penn's humanitarian work found him in New Orleans in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and more recently in earthquake-ravaged Haiti, leading him to establish the J/P Haitian Relief Organization, which employs a predominantly Haitian staff of over 350 professionals to support families in areas affected by the earthquake. In July 2010, Penn was knighted by Haitian President Rene Preval and in 2012, was named Ambassador at Large for Haiti and Special Advisor to Haiti's Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe.

 

Crimes against humanity in Africa are close to Charlize Theron’s heart too: she serves as a United Nations Messenger of Peace and founded the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project, with a mission to help keep African youth safe from HIV through its support of on the ground, community-engaged organizations. An activist himself and champion of refugees, Javier Bardem co-produced and starred in Sons of the Clouds: The Last Colony, a film documenting how the colonization of the Western Sahara has left nearly 200 000 people living in refugee camps.

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