Virgo Productions


"The Man who Stole My Mother's Face is a sobering tale of survival, strength, healing and redemption. It is a story about faith and love and ultimately, attainment of justice."  Nancy Schafer, Tribeca Film Festival

"I was profoundly moved by it. It's a tremendously important movie for anyone who cares about violence against women and anyone who cares about the viablity of a family, and healing as opposed to just hopeless destruction......a really rivetting story." Actress Glenn Close 

"Cathy Henkel puts the pieces of her family back together, all without a hint of self-congratulation. An amazing story that succinctly balances despair and truimph" Toronto Eye Weekly 

Hope Road is a quiet jacaranda-lined street in a white middle-class suburb in Johannesburg, South Africa. Two days before Christmas in 1988, a 59-year-old woman is sexually assaulted and savagely beaten in her home by a young white teenager. Fourteen years on, the woman has still not recovered from this assault. The police bungled the investigation, the neighbours disputed her version of events and her son blamed her for letting the perpetrator into her house. The teenager, identified from a school photograph, was never charged and remains a free man. The woman's daughter is film-maker Cathy Henkel, and the film is her search for some form of justice and whatever it takes to help her mother heal and move on from this trauma. The journey takes her back to Johannesburg, city of her birth, to confront the past and the present climate of violence. The police re-open the case, but they run into numerous obstacles and the film-maker has to take matters into her own hands. What she discovers and the answers she brings back for her mother form the climax of this compelling, and ultimately uplifting, film.

What begins as a search for justice becomes a revelation about the process of healing. 

The Man who Stole my Mother's Face won the IF Award for Best Documentary and Best Feature Documentary Award at the Tribeca Film Festival, in 2004. It won the Audience Choice Award at the London Australia Film festival and was nominated for an AFI AWard and the Film Critics Circle of Australia Award.  It was a Finalist at the Cape Town World Cinema Festival and has been screened at over 30 film festivals across the globe including Hot Docs, Canada and the One World Film Festival in Prague.

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