Tag: rugby


January 16th, 2010 — 2:41am

Invictus* * * * *

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.

This is the last verse of poem titled Invictus that Susan’s dad frequently recited to inspire her and her brother. The poet William Henley wrote it in 1867 most probably reflecting his battle with tuberculosis which caused him the loss of a leg and a life with an artificial limb This is also the title and a recurrent theme of the latest movie directed and produced by Clint Eastwood and starring Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela. It is small slice of the great accomplishments of a man who spent 27 years in a small prison cell before emerging to be Prime Minister of South Africa and lead his country after the fall of apartheid The story shows how Mandela was determined to bring together the country despite the anger of the blacks after years of oppression and the resentment of the whites after the loss of their power and their majority rule. The vehicle for demonstrating Mandela’s role in unifying South Africa was the 1995 Rugby World Cup hosted by South Africa. Matt Damon plays Francois Pienaar the captain of the South African team originally not up to the task of winning. He becomes inspired by Mandela and helps his team master their fate and perhaps the fate of their nation. The real Nelson Mandela reportedly met Morgan Freeman and hoped that he would play him in a movie . Freeman very much wanted this opportunity and finally found the script where he could do it. He did it so well that when Clint Eastwood met Mandela he said that he thought that the great leader was “imitating Freeman”. It was more than the acting that make this an outstanding film. The breaking down of barriers between people is reflected in subtle nuances of the relationships between the white and black bodyguards of the Prime Minister, in the contrast of team captain Pienaar’s parents and even in the interplay between a youngster and a police officer listening to the big game on the radio. The powerful struggle that his country had to go through seemed to be echoed in the struggle of the Rugby scrum. The final game was shown in some detail and we were told was recreated from the study of tapes of the contest. The television scenes and commentary of the actual game was woven into the movie. Only three of the many rugby players seen in the dramatic battles on the field were actors. One of these with a very small part but with a distinctive face was Scott Eastwood son of Clint. (2009)

Comment » | 5 Stars, Biography, Drama, Sport

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