South Africa

Angus Gibson & Jo Menell – Mandela (1996)

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IMDB user comment:
Excellent, well-produced documentary

This is one of the better historical documentaries that I have seen in awhile covering any subject. Producing a documentary on Nelson Mandela is a rather formidable undertaking, and I believe that the filmmakers prove to be up to the task. The film portrays Mandela not as a saint, but as a human being — yes sometimes egotistical, but steadfast throughout his struggle. One of the most memorable parts of the film (edited marvelously) for me was the section describing the Sharpeville massacre (including actual footage) and how this event was key in turning Mandela from non-violence to armed struggle. Also powerful is the coverage of Mandela’s first trial on treason. Not only is footage woven in with interviews of key colleagues of Mandela, but one can see from the interview subjects that the fight against apartheid in South Africa was not merely a black versus white struggle. The struggle, in fact, encompassed a number of different ethnicities — even Afrikkaners.
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    Oliver Schmitz – Life, Above All (2010)

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    Strong narrative drive and a lived-in sense of community distinguish “Life, Above All,” helmer Oliver Schmitz’s traditional but emotionally rich adaptation of Allan Stratton’s novel “Chanda’s Secrets.” A forceful account of a courageous 12-year-old fighting small-minded prejudice in her South African village, well-made pic maintains a tight enough focus on its heroine to avoid becoming a topical tract on the issues it grapples with, namely the AIDS epidemic, infant mortality and child prostitution. Positive critical response should give this Un Certain Regard hit a strong shot at offshore play. Read More »