Mandela Long Walk to Freedom Review

Posted 10 years ago by myetvmedia

Freedom. It is an ideal for which I am prepared to die

Never again will the scourge of racial tyranny raise its ugly head

– Nelson Mandela

The world lost a great leader and hero with the passing of Nelson Mandela at the age of 95, but his legacy will live on. In September 2013, TIFF hosted the World Premiere of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, an adaptation by director Justin Chadwick and screenwriter William Nicholson, of Mandela’s 1994 autobiography of the same title. South African producer Anant Singh an activist himself, first conceived of this movie 25 years ago. Fascinated by Mandela, he wrote to Mandela while he was still a prisoner to discuss turning his story into a motion picture. Mandela sent a note back; “would anyone want to see a movie about my life?” Singh pursued Mandela to do this movie and finally got Mandela to grant him the rights to his autobiography. Mandela had implicit belief in Singh’s abilities to tell his story refusing to allow the lawyers to have script approval.

Comparisons have been drawn to ‘Gandhi’ both the man and the 1984 movie, which swept up 8 Academy Awards including a Best Actor Oscar for Ben Kingsley in the lead role. Producer David Thompson is quick to point out that Gandhi and Mandela have two very different stories under very different circumstances. Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is a powerful epic and Idris Elba is mesmerizing as Mandela on screen and off. He won the respect of the thousands of South Africans who worked with him on the film for his remarkable performance although he never had the chance to meet Mandela in person.

Director Justin Chadwick said he was unsure of taking on this movie when he was first approached to direct it due to the immense responsibility of correctly portraying Mandela and this period of history. So he went to South Africa and spent 2 years travelling the country. He met with the Mandela family and discovered a way through. The sense of loss of what Mandela had given up was the very personal story he wanted to tell. Mandela was 41 when he became a freedom fighter so he had lived a full life before hand. Mandela was no saint. There were certain parts of his life that were not so flattering. When Mandela went to prison he had 4 children by his first wife Evelyn and two with young Winnie Mandela, whom he would spend most of his life apart from. The political struggle of Apartheid was played out painfully and powerfully through this man, his family, their sacrifices and struggles. This was a man with a profound sadness. At the moment of his greatest victory he had lost what was so central to his life. Mandela himself wanted an honest portrayal of who he really was and the deep personal cost of his success.



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Mandela Long Walk to Freedom Review

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