Burning Shore (1991)
Drama · 24 November 1991
France, 1915. Young and radiantly beautiful Centaine de Thiry is the happiest woman in the world: in a few more hours she will be married to pilot Michael Courteney, the love of her life. But fate has it otherwise: Michael is shot down in a reconnaissance plane shortly before his wedding. Life has lost its meaning for Centaine. When the young woman realizes soon afterwards that she is expecting a baby, her zest for live is revived. She decides to give birth to the child in South Africa, the home country of her deceased fiancé. She starts on her long voyage, planning to stay with an uncle. However, Centaine's boat is attacked and sunk by a submarine. She uses all her strength to cling to a gangplank. Many hours later, she is washed ashore on the African coast suffering from hypothermia and exhaustion. Soon after, Hani and Owi, an old native couple, find her. The old people look after Centaine lovingly and care for her until she has completely recovered. The two Africans and the young European woman have a feeling of strong affection for each other. When the birth of her child is due, the couple take Centaine to a Holy Mountain inside which Centaine is delivered of Shasa, a healthy boy. While Centaine is recovering inside the mountain and her foster parents are looking for food, she makes a little necklace of multi-coloured stones as a gift for Hani to thank her for all the love and care she has given to Centaine. A knife which she could save from shipwreck serves her as a present for Owi. In the meantime, Sir Garrick Courteney, the late Michael's uncle, has started a thorough search operation, promising a big reward to anyone who would locate Centaine. Lothar de la Rey, a shady character and adventurer, has also heard about this reward. He roams about the bush with a bunch of criminals. Lothar makes Sir Garrick promise him that he and his men would be granted amnesty if he were to find Centaine, and so he sets out to look for her. Centaine has meanwhile decided to return to civilisation. As she knows that this farewell would break the old couple's heart, she leaves Hani and Owi secretly at night. Centaine struggles through the rough wilderness with her little son. When a lion suddenly jumps at her, Centaine's fate seems to be sealed. At the very last minute Lothar, who had tracted her, comes to her rescue. Centaine falls in love at first sight with her charming, good-looking rescuer. A passionate love affair takes its course in the picturesque scenery of the African bush. A short time later, Lothar discovers Hani and Owi who are searching for Centaine right near his camp. For Lothar natives are no more than wild animals. When he leaves the camp shortly afterwards to go hunting, Centaine follows him surreptitiously. To her utmost horror she has to witness how Lothar shoots Hani and Owi in cold blood. At that moment she feels that she has never truly loved Lothar. In fact, she begins to hate him. Centaine picks up Hani's necklace and Owi's knife to keep them. Before long, Centaine reaches Sir Garrick's house safe and sound. She never wants to see Lothar again. Soon afterwards, she learns from the owner of a diamond mine that a large stone on Hani's necklace is an uncut diamond. She remembers now that she had seen many stones of this kind in the Holy Mountain and decides to buy the mountain. At the same time, Centaine realizes that she is pregnant again - this time with Lothar's child. Since she does not want to have his child near her, she leaves her son Manfred with his father. Lothar is still in love with Centaine and tries everything to win back her affection. But Centaine has made up her mind - she has left him for good. Therefore Lothar tells Manfred that his mother is dead. Years go by and Centaine has become the richest woman in Africa. She only lives for her son Shasa and her business imperium which grows from day to day. One day, she buys up a bankrupt canning factory owned by Lothar and ruins him. Infuriated, he swears to take revenge. When he learns that Centaine is heavily in debt due to her attempts of taking over new companies, he senses his opportunity. He decides to hold up the diamond transfer which is so important for Centaine, together with his son and a gang of criminals, and to rob the stones Centaine urgently needs to convert into cash to improve her financial situation. Disregarding the warning of the ambitious politician Blaine, a friend for many years, Centaine goes out into the bush to the diamond mine herself to supervise the transfer which means so much to her. When the stones are finally ready for transporta-tion, the mine workers go on strike. They feel they are exploi-ted and badly paid. So Centaine and her son Shasa are forced to proceed alone, with diamonds worth two million pounds in their luggage. Out in the wilderness, mother and son are assaulted and robbed by Lothar and Manfred. Centaine calls Blaine to her rescue. Supported by a group of soldiers, the adventurous pursuit begins. Chased by Centaine and Blaine, Lothar has to fight his way through the bush with his son and men. The flight becomes more and more arduous, especially since Lothar has been severely injured in an accident. Besides, Lothar's men have reached a point where sheer greed prevails so that Manfred has a very hard time defending his father and the diamonds. Finally, Centaine and Blaine succeed in catching the criminals in a trap from which there is no escape. Lothar is facing a gigantic impassable waterfall, with his pursuers following on his heels. A terrible fight ensues in the course of which many of Lothar's men die. When Shasa aims at Manfred, Centaine tries to prevent Shasa from killing his half-brother. She succeeds at the very last minute. Centaine then climbs onto the rocks above the waterfall, where Lothar is waiting for her. She begs of him to hand over the diamonds and not to send her to her ruin, promising that thanks to her intervention he would not be punished for his crimes.
- Written by
Director(s): Jeannot Szwarc
Cast: Isabelle Gélinas, Derek de Lint, Jason Connery
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