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Film reviews: Invictus and Casanegra

Posted on Monday, 1 February 2010 09:31

Directed by Clint Eastwood ?

By Issy Largardien

For those who grew up in South Africa’s dusty townships, Invictus is a difficult film to watch. Based on the book Playing the Enemy by John Carlin, it tells the story of Nelson Mandela’s deeply-felt need for reconciliation and his fixation with the country’s mainly-white rugby team as a vehicle to achieve this during the 1995 World Cup.

What is missing is any attempt to situate events in a broader ?historical context. Even Mandela’s “victory” may have been pyrrhic: 15 years later, the poor have become poorer and an elite made up of old-money whites and a black côterie has become increasingly wealthy.In the end, the film’s appeal lies in its main character, Mandela, and its success is largely due to the fact that it was made by a big-name Hollywood director. It is difficult to see similar publicity for a film made by an African director or actors.The best thing that can be said is that it is heart warming – in a misty-eyed kind of way.

To read John Carlin’s views on how his book was made into a film and Mandela’s political genius, read our interview with the author.

Directed by Nour-Eddine Lakhmari?

By Nicholas Norbrook

As the disappointments of life in Casablanca push the heroes into the arms of the underworld, the painful contrasts between the haves and the have-nots are sketched out in this well-executed, if sometimes slow, La Haine-style, small-time gangster flick. The Moroccan film industry continues its rise.

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