Mandela | Chicago Reader


South Africa's president Nelson Mandela plays himself in a movie about his life that combines archival footage, apparent reenactments, exclusively laudatory interviews with his associates, and trendy postproduction techniques. The filmmakers frequently belabor their presence, as if motivated more by the desire to make history than the desire to tell it. An elaborate montage of Mandela shaving, laying out his clothes, and eating breakfast in preparation for a big day seems contrived even if it isn't and occupies the screen for so long you get the point that he's just a man a dozen times over. Although the visuals throughout are quite lovely—especially footage made fabulous through what looks like digital enhancement—the movie so transparently glorifies its subject that it trivializes his achievements. Directed by Jo Menell and Angus Gibson.

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