There's more than one Mandela film arriving this year, as this trailer for WINNIE MANDELA will tell you

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Man, Nelson Mandela may be an icon in this country, but his fighting legacy is something that has surely infected the rest of the world. We’ve already got several of his family members squabbling in order to make a quick buck off of the former president, but the less said about those wastes of human life and organs, the better.

And hell, it looks like even a big screen version of Mandela is going to be fighting it out, as the other  film that happens to feature another actor portraying him, is finally getting a release date, as the imaginatively title Winnie Mandela sneaks in to claim of some of that silver screen glory.

“Winnie Mandela” explores the personal and political life of the wife of renowned activist and former South African President, Nelson Mandela (Terrence Howard). The film tells the compelling story of one woman’s journey as she fights for the freedom of the man she loves and for the freedom of her people during the Apartheid era. Winnie Mandela depicts the struggle to keep the Mandela dream alive amidst her husband’s life imprisonment, her own time in solitary confinement, and her battle to overcome controversies that followed her through the years.

If this film feels like it snuck out of nowhere, it’s because it’s been sitting in storage for two years now after having done a run at various film festivals. And to be honest, the reviews back then weren’t exactly exciting for this film, with several critics panning it outright. The Guardian called the movie a “sugar-coated, decidedly episodic and selective affair: one that plays out much like a primetime telemovie,” while other outlets claim that the film hides several of the more embarrassing and controversial truths of Winnie, painting an idealised picture of the fraudster.

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Technically, it looks like a decent film, with Terence Howard and Jennifer Hudson having convincing enough accents for the film. But it’s a film that will be eclipsed by the Idris Elba starring Long Walk to Freedom, which is already building up some serious Oscar momentum for next year.

Winnie Mandela also stars Wendy Crewson and Elias Koteas, with Darrell Roodt directing. It’s out Septmber 6.

Last Updated: August 8, 2013

Darryn Bonthuys

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