Films: Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

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  • Wednesday, November 13, 6:30 PM
    zzThe Elaine Wolf Theatre


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Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

United Kingdom, 2013, 152 Minute Running Time
Additional Countries: South Africa
Genre/Subjects: African-American, Biographical, Drama, Political
Program: Special Presentation
Language: English

DIRECTOR: Justin Chadwick
Producer: Anant Singh, David M. Thompson
Editor: Rick Russell
Screenwriter: William Nicholson
Cinematographer: Lol Crawley
Principal Cast: Idris Elba, Naomie Harris, Tony Kgoroge, Riaad Moosa, Jamie Bartlett, Lindiwe Matshikiza

Based on South African President Nelson Mandela’s autobiography of the same name, this epic-scale biographical portrait chronicles his inspirational life, from his earliest Xhosa rite of initiation to his triumph working to rebuild the country’s once segregated society. Mandela is marked with the kind of grandeur appropriate to its hero, sharing in exhaustive detail Mandela’s youth and coming of age, his education, his marriages, and his 27-year imprisonment on charges of sabotage and anti-government conspiracy.

The story tracks his politicization as a young lawyer, his rise to prominence in the initially nonviolent African National Congress, and his shift toward militancy in the face of apartheid’s shocking brutality against black South Africans. Golden Globe-winning actor Idris Elba (Prometheus, The Wire) gives a towering performance as the leader and politician annealed and tempered by the extreme experiences of his life—pariah, saint, victim, hero. Elba’s power in bringing Mandela’s early years to life invests gravitas and dignity into the span of a lifetime.

Naomie Harris (Skyfall) holds her own as the great man’s impassioned wife, Winnie, his anchor and partner in radical politics in the early years, who finds her own voice and diverges from Mandela on the issue of violence in the struggle against apartheid. The horrors and ferocity of apartheid are vivid, terrifying, baffling—begging the question of how it lasted until 1994. Screenwriter William Nicholson, a former collaborator of Richard Attenborough who is perhaps best known for Gandhi, drew on the tradition of classic biopics to give Mandela straightforward, powerful storytelling.

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