Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Invictus (2009)

Invictus (2009)

Director: Clint Eastwood
Writers (screenplay): Anthony Peckham
Based on book by: John Carlin
Rating: 5

Description from imdb:
Nelson Mandela, in his first term as the South African President, initiates a unique venture to unite the apartheid-torn land: enlist the national rugby team on a mission to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

Tagline: His people needed a leader. He gave them a champion.

Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela
Matt Damon as Francois Pienaar


The actors playing the New Zealand rugby team, the All Blacks, had to learn the traditional Maori war chant, the Haka, which is performed at every game to intimidate rival teams. Out of a sense of verisimilitude and respect, the crew contacted the New Zealand Rugby Association to make sure the Haka would be done correctly. They sent over a Haka expert named Inia Maxwell, who assisted in Haka/rugby training and was present when the Haka was filmed so that it was portrayed accurately. (source: image)

My two bits:
I've turned into a rugby fan ;-)

The hubby went with me to see Young Victoria (my review). And, I went with him to see Invictus. Both are MUST SEE movies.

I didn't really know what I was getting to with this movie other than the title and that it was related to rugby.

invictus = unconquered

The movie was excellent! It provided some insight to what it means to be a true leader.

I find that I must read up on Nelson Mandela. He is an amazing leader and continues to be an inspiration. Below is a copy of the poem that Mandela refers to in the movie. These words helped him get through the days he was incarcerated on Robben Island.


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

From wikipedia:
"Invictus" is a short poem by the English poet William Ernest Henley. It was written in 1875 and first published in 1888 in Henley's Book of Verses, where it was the fourth in a series of poems entitled Life and Death (Echoes). It originally bore no title: early printings contained only the dedication To R. T. H. B. -- a reference to Robert Thomas Hamilton Bruce (1846-1899), a successful Scottish flour merchant and baker who was also a literary patron. The familiar title "Invictus" (Latin for "unconquered") was added by Arthur Quiller-Couch when he included the poem in The Oxford Book Of English Verse (1900).

Playing the Enemy
by John Carlin

Description from the amazon:
A thrilling, inspiring account of one of the greatest charm offensives in history—Nelson Mandela’s decade-long campaign to unite his country, beginning in his jail cell and ending with a rugby tournament

In 1985, Nelson Mandela, then in prison for twenty-three years, set about winning over the fiercest proponents of apartheid, from his jailers to the head of South Africa’s military. First he earned his freedom and then he won the presidency in the nation’s first free election in 1994. But he knew that South Africa was still dangerously divided by almost fifty years of apartheid. If he couldn’t unite his country in a visceral, emotional way—and fast—it would collapse into chaos. He would need all the charisma and strategic acumen he had honed during half a century of activism, and he’d need a cause all South Africans could share. Mandela picked one of the more farfetched causes imaginable—the national rugby team, the Springboks, who would host the sport’s World Cup in 1995.

Against the giants of the sport, the Springboks’ chances of victory were remote. But their chances of capturing the hearts of most South Africans seemed remoter still, as they had long been the embodiment of white supremacist rule. During apartheid, the all-white Springboks and their fans had belted out racist fight songs, and blacks would come to Springbok matches to cheer for whatever team was playing against them. Yet Mandela believed that the Springboks could embody—and engage—the new South Africa. And the Springboks themselves embraced the scheme. Soon South African TV would carry images of the team singing “Nkosi Sikelele Afrika,” the longtime anthem of black resistance to apartheid.

As their surprising string of victories lengthened, their home-field advantage grew exponentially. South Africans of every color and political stripe found themselves falling for the team. When the Springboks took to the field for the championship match against New Zealand’s heavily favored squad, Mandela sat in his presidential box wearing a Springbok jersey while sixty-two-thousand fans, mostly white, chanted “Nelson! Nelson!” Millions more gathered around their TV sets, whether in dusty black townships or leafy white suburbs, to urge their team toward victory. The Springboks won a nail-biter that day, defying the oddsmakers and capping Mandela’s miraculous ten-year-long effort to bring forty-three million South Africans together in an enduring bond.

John Carlin, a former South Africa bureau chief for the London Independent, offers a singular portrait of the greatest statesman of our time in action, blending the volatile cocktail of race, sport, and politics to intoxicating effect. He draws on extensive interviews with Mandela, Desmond Tutu, and dozens of other South Africans caught up in Mandela’s momentous campaign, and the Springboks’ unlikely triumph. As he makes stirringly clear, their championship transcended the mere thrill of victory to erase ancient hatreds and make a nation whole.

Let me know if you've seen the movie or read the book.

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