Friday, 30 December 2011
Adjoa Andoh in Invictus
I don’t know how I could have missed this film staring the ever beautiful Adjoa Andoh, Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman directed by Clint Eastwood about making a political rugby drama, inspired by true events.
Invictus is a 2009 biographical drama film based on Nelson Mandela's life during the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa. Directed by Clint Eastwood, the film stars Morgan Freeman as South African President Mandela, and Matt Damon as François Pienaar, the South African team captain. The story is based on the John Carlin book Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Changed a Nation. Invictus was released in the United States on December 11, 2009.
After decades in a Robben Island prison, Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) is released in 1990 and works immediately to bring about the end of apartheid and the initiation of full democratic elections where the black majority population can vote. Mandela wins the race for President of South Africa and takes office in 1994. His immediate challenge is "balancing black aspirations with white fears." The country's still-present racial tensions are shown, in part, through Mandela's security team, which comprises both new black and old white officials, with the groups immediately hostile to one another despite sharing the same job and goal.
While Mandela attempts to tackle the country's largest problems—including crime and unemployment—he attends a game of the Springboks, the country's rugby union team. Blacks in the stadium cheer against their home squad, as the Springboks (their history, players and even their colours) represent prejudice and apartheid in their mind. Knowing that South Africa is set to host the 1995 Rugby World Cup in one year's time, Mandela convinces the South African rugby board to keep the Springbok team, name and colours the same. He then meets with Springboks captain François Pienaar (Matt Damon). Though Mandela never verbalizes his true meaning during their meeting, François understands the message below the surface: if the Springboks can gain the support of black South Africans and succeed in the upcoming World Cup, the country will be unified and inspired. Mandela also shares with Pienaar that a poem, Invictus, had been inspiring to him during his time in prison, helping him to "stand when all he wanted to do was lie down".
François and his team-mates train, but the players (all but one are white) voice disapproval that they are to be envoys to the poor and public—fearing exhaustion from overwork. Mandela, too, hears disapproval from friends and family. As the tournament approaches, Mandela collapses from exhaustion and the Springboks' only black player, Chester Williams, is sidelined with a hamstring injury.
Things begin to change however as the people begin to interact with the team players and slowly the hesitation disappears. The World Cup begins, and Williams is healthy once again. During the course of the world cup the security team members also become at ease with each other and the black members who disliked rugby also take keen interest in the sport.