Thursday, December 10, 2009

Invictus

I nearly got whiplash on the A train on the way back from the Far Rockaways when I glimpsed what looked like a Springbok rugby shirt on Matt Damon, in a station deep in the bowels of Brooklyn. Talk about incongruity.

Then I saw it again, at my station, above, and in SoHo, below.

Matt Damon as Francois Pienaar, captain of the triumphant Bokke; Morgan Freeman as Madiba.

Directed
by my man Clint. Eastwood.

Slat my dood me 'n nat vis.

In the trailer Mr Freeman sounds nothing like Madiba, which is a pity, and odd, as his accent and voice are so unmistakable. Possibly that small clip was misleading. I look forward to deconstructing Mr Damon's South African accent, which, in small bites, sounded startlingly good. Leonardo DiCaprio came close in Blood Diamond, but usually they are a mishmash of every possible region and cultural background in the country with some extra cliches thrown in for good measure.

As someone who struggles to do a middle of the road American accent myself (unless it's Southern or Longghue Island - and even then I am sure I miss all nuance), I am sympathetic. But dudes, you are being paid le big bucks to get it right. If Charlize can lose it you can assume it.

There. Nothing deep to say. Just that. Rugby players on posters. The world is turning. South Africa's film fuel potential is only going to increase as history fades and the past bubbles to the surface. Smelling like roses or like carrion, as the case may be.

Having a Past is complicated.

Invictus

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.


William Ernest Henley, 1849 - 1903

Poem on wall of Mandela's prison cell.

12/11/09: NYTimes Review here.
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