On June 12, 1964, Nelson Mandela, along with a number of political detainees, was sentenced to life imprisonment in what remains the most sensational treason trial in the history of South ... See full summary »
James Gregory once lived in a farm and had befriended a native youth, Bafana, and had even had a photograph taken with him. Years later, now married to Gloria and father of three children (Chris, Brett, and Natasha), James has nothing but shame and regret, as many South African Caucasians in the oppressive Apartheid-era ridiculed him, leading him to hate Africans. He seeks to redeem himself by spying on imprisoned African National Congress Leader, Nelson Mandela. In the restrictive high security prison his job is to censor all written and verbal communications between prisoners, their visitors, and correspondence. James is uncomfortable when he witnesses Caucasian police and security officers' brutality against civilians, including infants, and tries to understand why Nelson became a rebel. This leads him to examine the 'Freedom Charter', a banned document, reportedly known to incite violence against 'whites'. And when he does read this document, he changes his mind about Nelson's ... Written by
When the car explodes in front of an office building after two officers walk by, the blast should have shattered the office windows (and there are sounds of breaking glass), yet they remain intact. See more »
Composed, Produced and Arranged by Johnny Clegg
Guitar, Mouthbow, Vocals by Johnny Clegg
Vocals by Mandisa Dlanga
Drum Programming by Verny Scholtz
Recorded and Mixed by Verny Scholtz at Eleven Studios, Johannesburg See more »
Any movie that deals with Nelson Mandela is a movie worth watching in my opinion. He is perhaps the only person in the world I can think of to whom I would apply the adjective "great." He was a man who could have lived in bitterness and anger all his life, seeking revenge when he finally achieved power, but who instead chose to devote himself to democracy and peaceful reconciliation between blacks and whites in South Africa. This movie, which I saw under the title "The Color Of Freedom," is interesting because although it deals extensively with Mandela, doesn't actually look at events from his perspective. The story is actually told from the perspective of James Gregory (played convincingly by Joseph Fiennes) - who as a prison guard slowly advancing up the ranks - met Mandela (played by Dennis Haysbert) in 1968 and gradually developed a relationship of trust and respect with him.
There's enough background information to give the viewer a taste of what South African life was like under apartheid, but the story isn't really about that. It's more a story of Mandela's impact on Gregory. At the start of the movie, Gregory came across as basically just another white South African, committed to apartheid and devoted to maintaining the white hold on "their" country. But slowly, as Gregory comes to know Mandela, he changes. Mandela's graciousness as well as his fierce devotion to his cause impacts Gregory, who suddenly begins to see Mandela not as a black terrorist out to kill whites but as a human being seeking basic dignity and equality.
Fiennes performance was very strong. Haysbert had a tough challenge. It surely isn't easy playing a man who is literally a living legend. He did well with the part, but it was difficult to accept him as Mandela. The portrayal of the racism that was so deeply ingrained in South African society was at times almost painful to watch. I suppose the biggest weakness of the story is that it's been denied by many people - apparently including Mandela. He did develop a strong relationship with one of his white guards, but it wasn't Gregory, who seems to have taken some liberty in the account he shares in his book, from which the movie was made. He is unfortunately dead and unable to answer to those criticisms. Still, this is a moving story, and there is truth behind it apparently, and it clearly established the qualities that made Mandela the great man he is, who accomplished the great things he managed.
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