The news broke this afternoon that Nelson Mandela, the South African revolutionary, anti-apartheid icon and former President of South Africa, passed away at age 95. He’ll be mourned the world over, including in the film industry, where the biopic “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” has been one of the Weinstein Company’s major fall releases, with Idris Elba playing Nelson Mandela and Naomie Harris as Winnie Madikizela. Indiewire’s review of the film can be found here.
Harvey Weinstein released the following statement about Mandela’s death:
One of the privileges of making movies is having the opportunity to immortalize those who have made a profound impact on humanity. We count ourselves unspeakably fortunate to have been immersed in Nelson Mandela’s story and legacy. It’s been an honor to have been granted such proximity to a man who will go down as one of history’s greatest freedom fighters and advocates for justice. I have had the privilege of spending time with President Mandela and I can say his sense of humor was as great as his optimism. We are deeply saddened by his loss; our hearts go out to his family and the entire South African nation.
“What an honor it was to step into the shoes of Nelson Mandela and portray a man who defied odds, broke down barriers, and championed human rights before the eyes of the world. My thoughts and prayers are with his family,” Elba added.
“Mandela” isn’t the only recent film to deal with the late figure’s legacy. Last week at the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam, the new documentary “A Letter to Nelson Mandela” explored the ramifications of Mandela’s influence on South African society from the perspective of a filmmaker who grew up in his shadow. Read our review of the film here.