4 items from 2017
Clare Stewart is the Australian who has breathed new life into the BFI London Film Festival. Her tenure as festival director has seen the scope of the event broadened beyond Central London theaters to neighborhoods throughout the capital and across the rest of Britain. The festival’s spot on the calendar has also recently turned it into a prime platform for launching Oscar campaigns, as with “Moonlight,” which was in competition in London last year.
Q: How does Lff fit into the calendar of events, how important is its place as a launchpad for a run at the Oscars?
London is home to a lot of voting Academy members and the BAFTAs. In very real terms we have articulated the benefit of screening at the festival and »
- Stewart Clarke
Pencils of Promise builds schools in the developing world and trains socially conscious young leaders to take action at home and abroad.
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It’s difficult to truly capture a controversial subject in film. For a figure such as Winnie Madikizela Mandela, it may be impossible unless you ensure her perspective is included. This is a woman labeled terrorist by many countries, a wife who “tarnished” her heroic husband’s legacy. Yet the people of South Africa hail her as Nelson Mandela‘s equal—maybe greater. She was the on-the-ground leader of the African National Congress (Anc) when he and others were imprisoned or exiled, the one person who put her fist up in opposition without fear. She saw the carnage and violence first-hand and taught South Africans to match that level of brutality in order to survive. Outside the filter of her oppressors’ smear campaigns to criminalize her actions, Winnie was a general.
- Jared Mobarak
There may be no life in South African politics more narratively riveting than that of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. Her ex-husband Nelson may have the more grandly heroic arc, having endured 27 years in captivity to bring democracy to his nation, but her parallel story — one that includes triumph, disgrace and exile, the worshipful embrace of one population sector and the moral disgust of another, complete with a still-disputed murder mystery — is the stuff of true cinema. Though she has met with mixed fortunes on the biopic front over the years, a dedicated feature-length documentary on her is long overdue — making Pascale Lamche’s “Winnie,” which features rare and extensive first-hand testimony from the lady herself, something of an event. It’s a shame, then, that “Winnie” gradually reveals itself to be rather a specious work, unabashedly one-sided in its adherence to the “mother of the nation” line pushed by her admirers, and »
- Guy Lodge
4 items from 2017
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