Monthly Archives: July 2015

Mandela Biopic Comes Under Attack


The anti-apartheid man as he is popularly known as Nelson Mandela, the Nobel Prize winner in 1993 for his non-violence revolution to bring about racial equity has been the central character of focus in many films. He has not only inspired people in South Africa but across the globe through his writings. Imprisoned for 27 years he is a symbol of apartheid resistance. Mandela fought through non-violent means. Despite being a support of violence during his early days, he changed his ideology to achieve his goals through a bloodless revolution that helped him achieve success and become the first black president of South Africa.

Most Hollywood depictions of Mandela have been on his personality and ideologies instead of behavioral complexity. The lack of this had made the films more a documentary than suitable for movie theatres. Since 1980s many movies were created on Nelson Mandela but the irony is that South Africa actor is yet to portray his role. The movies are all lead by Hollywood or British actors. It is a regret that none of the directors were able to find a resourceful South African lead to play the character of this radiant personality. Mandela released in the year 1987 is a biopic that was made while he was in Pollsmoor Prison. It was a TV movie. The script for the film was written by Ronald Harwood, a South African. It was directed by Phillip Saville of BBC. The movie was filmed in Zimbabwe.

During the 80s, Mandela movies had a tone of anti-apartheid was highly receptive. This includes the commercially successful movie Gods Must be Crazy. This is a South African Comedy film that is directed by Jamie Uys. Cry Freedom released in the year 1987 talks about the friendship of a white South African newspaper editor Donald Woods and anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko. The film openly criticizes the racist policies of the white government in South Africa. The film was directed by Richard Attenborough. Denzel Washington played the role of Steve Bikom and Kevin Kline was Donald Woods. The movie brought laurels for Denzel Washington, who played the role to perfection as a mesmerizing black leader.

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