Movie review – Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom: The art of historical erasure

2013-11-24 14:00

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An essential tale in the tapestry of SA’s history, or a generic rendition of the country’s struggle? You be the judge.

As if picked at random from a Wikipedia version of LongWalk to Freedom – Mandela's autobiography – are snippets of life, cobbled together, enacted by static characters and filtered through lazy and hazy dialogue; left to wander in life, love and struggle across the panoramic beauty of rural Eastern Cape (cue Lion King soundtrack, panning shots of “the world in one country”, and Madiba, as a young Xhosa initiate, dripping African manhood, aka virile snorting steed, as he emerges from the fresh river waters down in Qunu); through the dusty streets of Orlando or Alexandra in his perfectly pressed suits; or to take a moment to fire a few rounds from a Makarov pistol in a generic “military training camp in North Africa”, before returning in the next scene as a fully fledged cadre of Umkhonto weSizwe to blow an apartheid landmark to smithereens – stopping neither for a breath nor a breath of context.

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