Scripted by William Nicholson, an old hand at historical subjects, both legitimate (“Elizabeth: The Golden Age”) and fanciful (“Gladiator”), and directed by Justin Chadwick (“The Other Boleyn Girl”), “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” — the movie shares the title of Mandela’s 1995 memoir — is the more or less chronological chronicle of a young boy with the royal blood of the Thembu clan who leaves rural South Africa for the city, to become a “native” lawyer, charismatic lady-charmer, African National Congress leader, revolutionary, prisoner and international hero in the struggle to end South Africa’s enforcement of apartheid, an institutionalized system of “total segregation” and “uncompromising white superiority.” (Mandela’s childhood nickname is “Troublemaker,” a designation that would have made a more exciting movie title.) Mandela is played by Idris Elba, a powerful actor who here appears more stolid than strong, even if he does exude a Mandelaesque sense of moral authority. Naomie Harris, meanwhile, is Mandela’s wife, Winnie, and her onscreen transformation from helpmate to firebrand is more interesting than her husband’s steady and ultimately more effective resolve.
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Mandela movie inspired us — says WI skipper
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How Nelson Mandela Affected South Africa’s Film Industry
“The task now is to (continue to) find stories that will resonate around the world.” One such story is that of Mandela’s life, which is getting a theatrical rollout right now. Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, a drama that stars Idris Elba and Naomie Harris and is based on the freedom fighter’s autobiography, was picked up for the U.S. by the Weinstein Co. earlier this year. The epic is from well-known South African producer Anant Singh. PHOTOS: Hollywood’s Notable Deaths of 2013 The movie from director Justin Chadwick is the biggest South African production ever with a budget of $35 million, compared to the $1.7 million average for local films. It has sold wide to such territories as the United Kingdom and France (Pathe), Germany (Senator), Australia (Village Roadshow), Scandinavia (Scanbox), Brazil (Vinny Films), Hong Kong (Golden Scene), Israel (Shani), the Middle East (Gulf Films) and others. “There are more South African stories being told,” and this is one of them, Singh told THR earlier this year. He acquired the rights to Mandela’s autobiography more than 15 years ago, ensuring to get his blessing. Calling the film an “apt tribute” to Mandela, Singh recently said: “The journey to getting the film made has been a long and exciting one, and we are delighted to have found so many partners who share our passion for the little known story of how Mandela became an icon for the world.” Late Thursday night, Singh said in a statement about Mandela’s death: “We have lost our father, an exceptional human being, a hero to the world. There has never been anyone quite like him and there will never be.We should be inspired by his life and celebrate him with our love.” Young South African filmmakers, such as Jahmil X.T. Qubeka, who has been screening his drama Of Good Report about a high school teacher in rural South Africa who starts an obsessive affair with a pupil, feel energized to tell their stories.
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Nelson Mandela’s influence in movies
“We sat down yesterday morning, Christmas morning, and watched Invictus the movie with Morgan Freeman acting as Nelson Mandela. That inspired us,” said the ODI skipper.
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