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USA title: KILLING HEAT (100 mins) 1982

Production: SFI, Sweden & ITM, London & Chibote Ltd, Zambia
Based on the novel by DORIS LESSING (Nobel Laureate)
Written and directed by MICHAEL RAEBURN
Producer: Mark Forstater
Production Designer: Disley Jones
Editor: Tom Shwalm
Distribution: International cinema and television

"Karen Black is excellent as a lonely woman who marries farmer John Thaw and cannot adjust to life in the African woodland" *** - Leonard Maltins's Guide.





Selection of reviews:-


  • "Karen Black triumphs in one of the most demanding roles of her career. The film takes us into a world as beautiful as it is harsh, and we can all but feel the heat that's so unbearable. It ends on a note of authentic ambiguity that few films attain" Kelvin Thomas, Los Angeles Times
  • "Brilliantly reflects the uncommon intensity and insight of Doris Lessing's work" Judy Stone, San Francisco Chronicle
  • "Director Raeburn has elicited understated, finely tuned performances" Steven Holden, New York Times
  • "Facinating. Black gives her finest performance tracing the sexual repression and despairing angers of a woman on the edge" Judith Crist, WOR-TV
  • "Shows us the African landscape in a hundred exquisite details and large panoramas, and the screen is so filled with light and movement that I had the feeling I could walk right in it"
    Nancy Scott, San Francisco Examiner
  • "Location footage is stunning in this handsome, high-quality production" Variety

United Kingdom :

  • "Doris Lessing is a novelist of distinction, how reassuring to find hertalent positivley shining forth from The Grass Is Singing" Daily Telegraph, UK
  • "It has courage and crackle.. full of fine, barbed meditations on barbarism, both black and white" Financial Times
  • "Fine literary edaptation. Karen outstanding. Michael Raeburn directs with an appropriate mystical edge" The Guardian, UK
  • "This dramatically potent adaptation has visual authenticity.. script and direction capture the quality of Lessing's best writing" Time Out
  • "A film Peter Weir might have made had not Michael Raeburn got there first" New Musical Express.
  • "John Thaw - a superb, unstinting performance. One of the few films which treats Africa not as a political problem or a suitable location for racey adventure, but as an environment that dictates the human drama of its inhabitants" Daily Mail, UK
  • "The atmosphere evoked is one of considerable tension. Raeburn has brought it all together very well and created a succint and very interesting film" BBC

Elsewhere :

  • " 'The Grass Is Singing' is a Third World 'Stromboli' with K. Black in the Ingrid Bergman part" Filmworld, Canada
  • "Provides the exhilaration of a drama well spun. There is an emotional tension of classical tragedy" Weekend Australia
  • "Steaming atmosphere.. The film's strength is in the moment where man stands against the environment" Svenska Dagbladet, Sweden
  • "Has the psychic power of a strange and terrible dream. As a metaphor for the traumas of our country it may well be prophetic" Cape Times, South Africa.


Karen Black