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Amandla! A Revolution in Four Part Harmony (2002)

PG-13  |   |  Documentary, History, Music  |  6 November 2003 (Australia)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 507 users   Metascore: 78/100
Reviews: 10 user | 39 critic | 26 from Metacritic.com

Interviews, archival footage, and filmed performances highlight the role of music in the South African struggle against apartheid.

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Title: Amandla! A Revolution in Four Part Harmony (2002)

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Himself (voice)
F.W. de Klerk ...
Himself (archive footage)
Abdullah Ibrahim ...
Himself
...
Himself (archive footage)
Duma Ka Ndlovu ...
Himself
Ronnie Kasrils ...
Himself
Sibongile Khumalo ...
Herself
Vusi Mahlasela ...
Himself
...
Herself
...
Himself (archive footage)
Winnie Mandela ...
Herself (archive footage)
Hugh Masekela ...
Himself
Sophie Mgcina ...
Herself
Thandi Modise ...
Herself
Sifiso Ntuli ...
Himself
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Storyline

Through a chronological history of the South African liberation struggle, this documentary cites examples of the way that music was used in the fight for freedom. Songs united those who were being oppressed and gave those fighting a way to express their plight. The music consoled those incarcerated, and created an effective underground form of communication inside the prisons. Written by Sujit R. Varma

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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some images of violence, and for momentary language | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

6 November 2003 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Amandla!  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$14,181 (USA) (21 February 2003)

Gross:

$398,981 (USA) (2 May 2003)
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User Reviews

An inspiring look at music as a catalyst for change
28 April 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Amandla! A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony" is a documentary that is riveting and educational, uplifting and heartbreaking. The contrasts are all laid bare in this project, making it a worthwhile film to watch.

The focal point of the documentary is the role music played in the lives of South Africans as they endured and overcame the Apartheid movement. Director Leon Hirsch interviews a number of singers, composers, DJs and freedom fighters, young and old. He follows the history of Apartheid by tracing the music that came out of the struggle and what happened to those who created it.

I think what grabbed me was how much of a role music plays in great periods of change. It was also a driving force of African-Americans in the U.S. who were fighting segregation during the 60s. The spirituals that buoyed them share a similar history to those songs sung in South Africa.

The music chosen was a wonderful collection I want to hear again. I also enjoyed seeing the laughter of many of the singers as they looked at old photographs, remembering younger days.

I also liked that Hirsch interviewed a white freedom fighter who was sent to Pretoria prison for several years. His interviews with the white Afrikkaners who formerly worked as riot police and jailers are chilling but necessary.

My hope is that more Americans will see this film so they fully realize the scope of Apartheid in South Africa and what a triumph it was to see it overturned. Was it really 1994 when black South Africans were finally allowed to vote? It breaks my heart.

As a teenager in the 80s, I knew hardly anything about Apartheid. This film did a good job in changing that.


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