This is the untold story behind History, a well-kept secret behind the world-wide icon: Nelson Mandela's release was a Plot for Peace. For the first time, heads of state, generals, diplomats, master spies and anti-apartheid fighters reveal how Africa's front line states helped end apartheid. Their improbable key to Mandela's prison cell was a mysterious French businessman, dubbed "Monsieur Jacques" in classified correspondence. His trade secret was trust.Written by
Engaging and engrossing documentary that feels almost like a cerebral fictional thriller.
Commodities entrepreneur Jean-Yves Ollivier recounts his behind-the-scenes efforts to help broker the beginning of the end to apartheid in South Africa. While most attention in that historic transition has rightfully gone to Nelson Mandela, the ANC, and those fighting for freedom on the ground, the story of this clever chess-player using his Machiavellian business skills to gently coax together people and nations who weren't even speaking is a fascinating look at how complex, and not always 100% pure, the impulses behind change can be.
Ollivier seems no fan of apartheid morally, but freely admits his first impetus for change was realizing it wasn't a sustainable model for a businessman like him trading with South Africa. So he tried to usher in the end of the old order with minimal violence and social disruption.
Occasionally we get the sense we might be hearing a bit of a self-serving version of the story – there's not a lot of hard questioning of Ollivier's version of events. But whatever the details, there's no question this unlikely hero had a serious hand in bring to a close one of the most shameful regimes of the 20th century.
On 2nd viewing it only grew in power, and emotion -- and my mild reservations abated. Whatever it's flaws this is a very powerful document of one person making a huge difference in the world, and not caring if he got the credit.
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